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DB Schenker apprentice Alexandra Janke

Apprenticeship schemes could be an effective remedy for the lack of young people in the logistics industry, and DB Schenker is making its learning programme accessible and exciting to new entrants.  

Germany’s ‘dual system’ is the country’s main gateway to employment and allows a student to combine practical work with a specialised education, resulting in a niche qualification and often, a stable job.  

But when a student is choosing which trade to master, the logistics industry faces some tough competition against a multitude of sectors, including medicine, mechanics or even baking. 

This represents a wider issue within the industry, whereby young people aren’t interested in the logistics sector, or even know it exists – meaning companies can find it challenging to attract and retain new talent.  

But talent and development manager at DB Schenker, Luisa Funk, told The Loadstar that the German logistics company is aiming to encourage young people by advertising its apprenticeship scheme in schools and job fairs. 

DB Schenker takes on some 350 apprentices each year in Germany. 

One participant in the programme, trainee forwarding agent Alexandra Janke, told The Loadstar that while she was interested in supply chains before starting at Schenker, no prior knowledge was required. 

“They teach you everything,” she said. 

“You learn the theoretical part, but also the practical part, and you really have the inside view of companies. It makes it easier for you to understand all the processes behind it.” 

DB Schenker’s programme is especially attractive, as it offers the opportunity to work abroad.  

Schenker boasts 16 partner countries that its apprentices could be sent to for three months, including the US, Canada, India, the Netherlands, Turkey and Kenya. 

Ms Funk said: “The offer that you can go abroad for three months to another country is often the point where they decide to go to Schenker and not to another company … So, this is like a unique selling point.” 

Indeed, Ms Janke added: “This one has the Erasmus programme, they send you around the world where you can learn how to do the jobs, and you can network. I was like, ‘hey, I think there is more to the world than Germany’ – I wanted to work in different countries and DB Schenker has this programme.” 

Ms Janke, originally from Berlin, spoke to The Loadstar from Texas. She has been interning there since 1 March and will stay until 1 June. 

The trainee forwarder said that the apprenticeship has given her the invaluable opportunity to work closely with a mentor, who she said has opened doors to the industry that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.  

logistics apprenticeships

Alexandra Janke working with the Schenker team

“I think the best thing is the people, because DB Schenker is like a family. Everybody is very comfortable with each other. 

“I have mentors here… They have so many connections and they have worked in so many parts of the world, so it’s very interesting to talk to them because I want to do the same. They’re helping me so much in building my network,” she said. 

Not only is the apprenticeship a great way to build networks and skillsets, it also will often result in long-term employment, Ms Funk told The Loadstar.  

“Next year I will finish my apprenticeship and hopefully I will get a job at DB Schenker,” Ms Janke concluded. 

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