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Outside your comfort zone

Outside your comfort zone

The traineeship at Van Hessen is special and ensures that we can train people internally for the specialist work at Van Hessen. Niek is one of our trainees, he started with us over 1.5 years ago and he likes to share his experience. 

During the year and a half that I have now been employed, I have visited 15 different countries (before the coronavirus outbreak) and I have got to know the various steps between the abattoir and the sausage maker.

Before I started the traineeship at Van Hessen, I attained a bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering and Management and a master's degree in Digital Business. What attracted me beforehand to Van Hessen was that while the company is a traditional family business, it is also a multinational. My expectation was that different layers of the company would be involved in the traineeship and there would also be an opportunity for international learning, as well as for development in my fields of interest such as data analysis, digitisation and doing international business.

Looking back, those expectations were largely correct. Just like probably everyone else, I really had no idea of what's involved before we get a sausage on our plate. Simply the understanding of that process has been super interesting. The focus of the current traineeship is mainly on product knowledge. This means that for every step between raw material and finished product, you learn how and why this is done. What makes the traineeship so much fun is all the travelling, striving to be the best, working with and in different cultures, the involvement of colleagues and working in environments that are really outside my comfort zone.

My most special experiences lie in the discovery of and total immersion in other cultures. Especially if a visit lasts more than a week, then you learn more and more about the life, work and social interaction within cultures. The countries that stand out for me are Morocco, Egypt and China.

The traineeship has taught me a great deal in many different areas. Besides the beautiful experiences, I see that working in different cultures and/or places, which may be outside your comfort zone, does open your eyes to a different way of looking at and/or dealing with certain things.

We too are currently faced with travel restrictions, which are now making my traineeship slightly different from planned. But that does not mean that I am doing nothing. Currently I am involved in two projects: The use of information about raw materials to help make an earlier or more informed decision and the setting up of a monthly management report on mucosa (pharmaceutical raw material). Both super interesting, enabling me to immediately add value to Van Hessen. I am very curious what the future will bring me and how everything will go. It is certain that no two days are the same.

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