20 years of RCG apprenticeships – Kathrin Schindler: “I would choose the RCG again”

10. 11. 2020

In the course of our anniversary, we are putting colleagues in the spotlight who have made the RCG apprenticeships what they are today – a successful joint project. Current and former apprentices and trainers are taking it in turns to give us an insight into their day. They tell us what motivated them to do an apprenticeship at the RCG and look ahead to the next 20 years.

As one of the very first freight forwarding agents, Kathrin Schindler is a pioneer of the teaching profession. Today, she is both a customs agent in the Service Delivery division at the Central Railway Marshalling Yard Vienna-Kledering and a mentor for apprentices. She has fond memories of her time as an apprentice.

In our interview, she tells us what made her RCG apprenticeship so special and what tips she has for anyone just starting out on their career.

What type of training have you undertaken at the RCG?

I completed my apprenticeship to become a freight forwarding agent in 2003. In 2007, I then completed my training to become a customs agent.

What is it that makes the RCG apprenticeships so special?

The internal job rotation opportunities are a real bonus. They give you an insight into lots of different departments and types of work that you may come across again later on in your career. Another big advantage is being able to get to know different members of staff on site. I still meet up with colleagues I got to know during my apprenticeship every now and then.

What motivated you to do an apprenticeship at the RCG?

Like many young people, I had applied to a number of different companies and got positive responses from several of them. I had the chance to start an apprenticeship in a completely different line of business, right where I lived. A good friend of mine advised me to go for the RCG. She said: “It sounds more interesting and more exciting”. She was right J

What was it like being one of the first RCG apprentices in the year 2000?

You don’t really think about things like that at the start. Entering the world of work is momentous enough as it is. Looking back, it was something very special, of course. Whenever apprentices tell me about things they have experienced at their vocational college and in the different departments, it feels as if my own apprenticeship was just yesterday.

How have the RCG apprenticeships changed over the past 20 years?

A lot has changed when it comes to technology, of course. Back then, paper plans were used for dispatching wagons. FleetIS, the dispatch programme we use today, is a big step forward. Digitalization has brought a lot of changes and will continue to do so.

Can you describe your career path at the RCG to date?

After my apprenticeship, I worked in “Cargo Wagon Service”, which is now called Order Processing (Auftragsdatenbearbeiter – ADB). After having been first hired for a cover position, my team supervisor at the time asked me if I was interested in working in customs. After a great deal of thought and a few days of work shadowing, I decided to go for the customs agent job. I had to complete a course at the Federal Finance Academy that lasted several weeks. Shortly after this course came to an end, the course to become a trainer for apprentices got underway. It felt like I was re-living my own apprenticeship. You can empathise with trainees when they talk about their challenges. You remember the things you didn’t like so much and you try to find ways to make them better.

What piece of advice would you give anyone who is starting an apprenticeship at the RCG?

It’s important to take an interest – in every aspect of the company. The RCG’s departments do not work independent of one another; they work hand in hand.

What do you think the RCG apprenticeships will be like 20 years from now?

Some things will stay the same, but a lot will have changed. Things we couldn’t even imagine today will be totally normal in a few years’ time.

Describe your RCG apprenticeship in one sentence!

The apprenticeship was fun and I learned a lot, but it was also a challenging time. If I had to pick an apprenticeship again today, I would choose the RCG again.