Matthäus Tepperberg combined his freight forwarding apprenticeship at the RCG with the graduate degree “Logistics and Transport Management”. He tells us how the Rail Cargo Group stood by him during this time and what the opportunities the Rail Cargo Group offers its apprentices today that make this step even easier.
What training did you do at the RCG?
I completed the Rail Cargo Group apprenticeship to become a freight forwarder as well as the post-training course to become a freight forwarding expert.
What it is that makes the RCG apprenticeships so special?
The apprenticeship gives you a broad insight into all the different fields of business that the company offers. Besides what you learn on the course, your RCG colleagues who take you on board are what really makes the apprenticeship so special. You feel part of the big picture right from the very start. That increases your motivation levels and you feel at home right away. On top of that, there’s a big emphasis on getting the right balance between work experience and time spent at business school, where events and field trips substantiate what you’ve learned. I have very fond memories of factory visits to customer premises and the European Ports.
What motivated you to do an apprenticeship at the RCG?
For me personally, what makes rail freight transport and the logistics industry so exciting is the combination of technology and business administration. In the railway industry, the relationship between operational decisions and their operational impact are especially dynamic.
As one of the leading logistics companies in Europe and as part of the ÖBB family, the RCG opens up to a wide spectrum of activities that you can get involved in. This helps you establish yourself in the company even at a young age and develop your career in many different directions. The opportunity to support an Austrian company and contribute to its success also had a big influence on my career choices.
What makes it possible to combine an RCG apprenticeship with an academic degree?
After completing my Matura, I wanted to learn a trade inside out so that I could then gain real work experience and skills. After completing the apprenticeship, I studied “Logistics & Transport Management” part-time. The RCG really supported me, especially when it came to managing the time I spent at work and the time I spent studying. The RCG has now made it even easier to do an academic degree; I’m very pleased to see that you can also complete the Matura or degree entry exam alongside the apprenticeship, for instance. That is a massive help when it comes to going for an academic degree. I can only recommend any of my colleagues who are thinking about doing an academic degree to take the plunge, because the company will give you the support you need. By the same token, the RCG also makes a real investment in its staff that genuinely pays off.
Describe your RCG career path to date.
After my apprenticeship, I moved into a range of different sales roles in what are known as the “market divisions”. A few years later, I went into the cross-functional departments that deal with sales management and managing rail transport business, among other things. In 2017, I was able to take over the position of leading the department then known as “Corridor Management”. After a short period as Head of Department in Network Management, I’ve been in charge of the Purchasing Department since summer 2018.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out on their apprenticeship at the RCG?
One huge bonus the RCG apprenticeship offers is the chance to network during the course. It is definitely important to maintain these contacts, because that makes teamwork go smoothly, also in years to come. On top of that, I would say look to the future with confidence and deepen your interest in the industry, for example with a graduate degree.
What do you think the RCG apprenticeships will look like 20 years from now?
I’m certain that the apprenticeship is going to keep on evolving. I think that there will be more interdisciplinary cooperation opportunities with other educational institutions and other sectors, like the industrial sector, for example. What’s more, digitalisation will also influence the course content and the way we learn too – especially when it comes to the interplay between the company and the business schools.
With all these changes, the one thing want us to keep is the RCG spirit; and I’m sure it’s not going anywhere – because it’s what makes the difference.
Describe the RCG apprenticeship in one sentence:
The RCG apprenticeship is enriching on a personal and a professional level. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.