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Training under you belt – Tips to get you started

Once a young person has signed his training contract, they actually can be proud of themselves. They just have taken the first hurdle for a successful career. At least for the next few years they have a future perspective and this they can claim as an achievement for themselves. After all, they were successful often in the face of quite some other competitors. The challenge now is to uphold the good impression from the interview and if possible improve on it.

When you enter your career path, there are 10 rules to follow:

  1. Do not forget - the documents:

    Young people must never forget the important documents and information on their first working day. These include details of their bank account, the social security card and the membership number of the insurance company. However, usually, those details are required by their employer in advance.

  2. Neat and well-kept appearance is a must:

    That you look your best for the interview is actually a no brainer. But this also applies to your every work day. Even apprentices have to wear customary clothing, but above all, it has to be clean and without holes. While it is common to appear in neat jeans in some industries, in others, a suit or any other dress code is required. If you are not sure about any of this, make a polite inquiry to the employer before your first day.

  3. Be on time:

    Ask when the work hours in your company start or when people are supposed to be present. Do that before your first work day. If you got employment in a company with flexible time, ask if there is a certain time they want you to work in the first few days or weeks.

  4. Courtesy is high on demand:

    Usually, the new employees are introduced to their colleagues and supervisors on the first working day. The trainees should be sure to greet every other employee with a pleasant handshake and a smile. If you work in a German speaking company, always address supervisors and colleagues in the formal language. Change to the informal language only if offered by the supervisor.

  5. Remember their names:

    It is a sign of appreciation to address other people by their names. Of course, the new employee is given a few days to let it all think in. After all, it is easy to forget things in the excitement of the first day. And for some people, it is not easy at all to put names and faces together.

  6. Express your interest:

    Employers like it if the trainee shows initiative and asks questions. This shows that the young person is serious about their work choice and has made a genuine commitment. When it comes to initiative, there is a word of caution, though: Be discrete about it. If you want to take on anther activity, always coordinate that with your employer.

  7. Always follow the instructions:

    The employer is legally authorised to instruct the trainee. In most cases, this regards to the safety issues. However, the employer also can issue tasks to the trainee which might appear pointless to the latter. This fact led to the saying: "Apprenticeship are not fun years", which has frequently been quoted in previous years.

  8. Unexcused absence:

    This is a real no-go zone: Trainees who are absent without excuse, can, in the worst-case scenario be terminated. Tardiness or truancy might have been tolerated at school, but that is over now. Other than at school, at your workplace, you have colleagues, which might rely on you and your work.

  9. Private telephone calls and surfing the Internet for private reasons in generally not allowed:

    This is true at least during working hours. At lunchtime, you can ask your employer if it was ok to use the PC for personal reasons.

  10. No chewing gum during working hours:

    The chewing gum is off-limits during working hours because both colleagues and customers will sense that as rude.

Implementation for youth work

Make it a point discussing employment issues with young people

If you happen to work with a group of young people who are looking or just entered their first employment or soon will be starting a training place, you can discuss those issues with them frequently.


  • Why are the respective points important?

  • What kind of impression will it leave for your future colleagues, supervisors or college if you disregard their etiquette?

  • What conclusions can be drawn, from your commitment, customer service or social behaviour?

Roll Play:

An alternative to discussing the above points you could engage the young people in a role play. This way they receive first-hand impressions how a certain behaviour of others comes across. Or ask them, to engage in this role game in a way, which would be utterly unacceptable in the workplace. (This might be easy for almost every teenager). Then let them play the same scenario, only this time with implacable behaviour.

I think it is important that the young person develops a sense of the importance how their own behaviour, often ever so unconscious affects and impacts the people around them.

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