Always outside, working hard physically and as part of a great team – these are the first three things that come to mind for Natalie Rothhaar when she talks about her job as a mechatronics engineer at HHLA. She successfully completed the appropriate training in January. She could never have predicted that she would one day end up in a technical profession. “At 15, I had no idea what I’d like to do some day,” remembers the 23-year-old.
a great team – these are the first three things that come to mind for Natalie Rothhaar when she talks about her job as a mechatronics engineer at HHLA. She successfully completed the appropriate training in January. She could never have predicted that she would one day end up in a technical profession. “At 15, I had no idea what I’d like to do some day,” remembers the 23-year-old. She initially trained as a hotel professional, which she liked just fine at first but later didn’t really enjoy. Because her brother spoke so excitedly about his job in rope-making at HHLA, she decided to take a closer look at the company. “After my two-week internship, it was clear to me what I really wanted to do,” says Rothhaar. “And that has been the best decision of my life so far.”
In the course of her three-and-a-half-year training programme, theoretical knowledge was taught at the vocational school for media and technology in Farmsen. She says she was helped by the fact that she is good with numbers: “At vocational school, about 80 percent of the work was arithmetic. It starts off pretty easy, but the formulas get more and more difficult,” recounts Rothhaar.
The practical training is just as important, of course. Because HHLA doesn’t have its own workshop for apprentices, this part of the training largely takes place at the Hamburg training centre in Langenhorn. “The conditions there are great, and the trainers know exactly what we need for the exams,” says Rothhaar. Some of the skills she learned there are turning, milling and welding – industrial skills that she can use in practice on the job at Burchardkai.
Among other things, the container terminal’s workshop ensures that the equipment required for handling the steel boxes – such as ground-handling vehicles (van carriers) and container gantry cranes – is always ready for use. Rothhaar is enthusiastic when she talks about her job: “The best moment is at sunrise, 60 metres up on a container gantry crane, where you can see the entire harbour all the way to the Elphi.”
She has especially fond memories of an exchange with female mechatronics engineering trainees from engine manufacturer MTU in Munich. “Those five girls and I spent a week talking about women in technical professions. We thought about the best way to get schoolage girls interested in these jobs.” The fact that there have only been nine women in technical jobs at Burchardkai up to now doesn’t put Rothhaar off: in fact, just the opposite: “I think our mixed team is perfect.”
Following her apprenticeship, the avid amateur horseback rider will look after the brakes on the container gantry crane – for example, by measuring reference values and changing pads. She is more than qualified, since, as a mechatronics engineer, she followed up her first qualification as a hotel professional by essentially completing two more training programmes: as an electrician and a mechanic.
This is not how Gustav Lobeda (20) imagined the turn of the year from 2021 to 2022. On New Year’s Eve, he was sitting alone in a room in a quarantine hotel, looking at the skyscrapers of Hong Kong. But as a dual student at HHLA, he wouldn’t have had it any other way. For his semester abroad, he chose Hang Seng University of Hong Kong. However, to enter the Chinese special administrative zone of Hong Kong, visitors must spend three weeks in strictly monitored quarantine immediately upon arrival. “I’ll manage it all right,” says Lobeda in a Teams chat. “I brought a lot of work with me and get some exercise every day.” Lobeda and his friend Jonathan Heffels, another dual student at HHLA, have come to terms with the threeweek restrictions; once they’re over, they’ll get to study for five months in an international metropolis that’s home to one of the biggest ports in the world. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that HHLA has made possible for the junior staff members.
The “Logistics Management” dual study course at the Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA) is one of the subject fields that HHLA offers.
Read more about dual study courses at HHLA (Link einfügen) Students complete the practical part of the dual study course at HHLA; for Gustav Lobeda, this was the deciding factor. “Theory alone wouldn’t have been my thing. And the Port of Hamburg is fascinating, even from a distance. Now that I work directly with the containers and ships, it’s even more exciting.”
Lobeda, a native of Greifswald, started his studies in Hamburg in 2020. It takes six semesters to complete a Bachelor of Science. Between the blocks of theory classes,
Lobeda rode in a freight train to the Czech border and shadowed his Metrans colleagues at the rail terminal in Prague. During his time in Container Sales, he put together a daily newsletter about market trends. And he won a prize. Lobeda took part in a hackathon with three other HSBA students. They invested a whole weekend in working non-stop on a given question. The prospective logistics managers had to figure out how to reduce queues of trucks in the Port of Hamburg. They then presented their solution at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg, as one of six teams selected to attend. At the trade fair for intelligent transport systems, the best projects were chosen by the amount of applause they received from visitors. Lobeda and Heffels and the HSBA team were presented with a promotional award.
Gustav Lobeda very much appreciates this variety in his daily study routine. It has only one small disadvantage: he hasn’t been able to decide what he wants to do at HHLA once he finishes. Fortunately, he still has some time to find a role that fits his diverse talents in the large HHLA Group.
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG has committed itself to opening a “Gateway to the Future”. This also stands as a call to young people who are looking for qualified career prospects. Vocational training and instruction and dual study courses at HHLA create a wealth of opportunities, as the profiles of Natalie Rothhaar and Gustav Lobeda demonstrate.
The future experts don’t just learn the current theoretical standards in the field – they find their orientation in constantly changing working environments. They gain forward-looking skills – like working with digital media and improving their social and communication skills – and they gain real experience with the economic, environmental and social aspects of the working environment.
HHLA trains its junior staff to become active participants and implementation-oriented contributors. This all takes place in a corporate culture in which responsibility lies not only with the Executive Board and managers; challenges involving structural changes and new customer requests are tackled as a team. In this way, the company secures its sustainable yet dynamic continued development, which is primarily driven by the employees.
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG provides training in the following areas: