Trainee programs at big international companies are usually structured in a similar way. In this blog post, I will describe the structure of Scania’s Graduate Trainee Program in detail in order to give you a better understanding of how a trainee program might look like.
In short, Scania’s trainee program is composed of an introduction phase followed by four three-month practice periods, which take place at the home department and three other departments. During the entire trainee program, each trainee is supervised by the manager that has recruited the trainee, and together, they decide where the trainee will spend the other three practice periods. Between the practice periods, the trainees gather for seminar weeks at the headquarter.
The trainee program usually starts in the middle of August. All newly recruited trainees spend the first six weeks together in an introductory program. Three weeks of the introduction take place at the chassis, axles & gearboxes, and engine assembly lines in form of a workshop practice. The other three weeks are filled with lectures, seminars, and group activities.
After these six weeks, the trainees start their first trainee period at their respective home department, which is the department that has recruited them. The first seminar week is usually held in December just before the end of the first trainee period, and with the beginning of the next year, the second trainee period starts. Trainees within Production might, for instance, switch to a totally different department, such as Purchasing or Finance. However, the trainees within Sales & Marketing and Commercial Operations typically spend this period at the Scania Dealers in Malmö, Gothenburg or Stockholm.
In the middle of April, the trainees gather again for a seminar week in Södertälje, before they each take a one-week intensive language class in the UK, Germany or Spain. Afterwards, the third practice period starts, in which the trainees work abroad at one of Scania’s distributors. These year’s trainees travelled to countries such as Australia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Argentina, the Netherlands, and Germany. The practice period abroad is followed by a four-week vacation, which gives the trainees the opportunity to discover their host country or neighbouring countries.
After the summer break, the fourth practice period starts, which the trainees usually spend at a department in Södertälje, Luleå or Oskarshamn. Sales & Marketing trainees, like me, often take the chance to deepen their knowledge within sales and marketing. Therefore, I am currently working at the department “Sales Trucks – Europe” during my last practice period.
After 14 months, the trainee program ends, and a permanent position awaits the trainees at their home department. However, a trainee can also choose to work for a different department, if a job vacancy is available.
During the trainee program, the trainee is not only supervised by the home department’s manager; he or she is also assigned a personal mentor, typically a former trainee who has worked for about one year after the trainee program.
To summarize, a trainee program at a big international company usually implies spending a period abroad at a subsidiary, working at the assembly lines, taking part in lectures and seminars, and being supported by a personal mentor for the duration of the program.