Knowledge exchange as a condition for success – RCG & UnitCargo’s apprentice partnership scheme

15. 02. 2023

Two apprentices swap companies for three months and gain fresh perspectives for their future careers. A look into the successful partnership between RCG and UnitCargo.

The international freight forwarding company UnitCargo trains up young apprentices to become forwarding agents, just as we do here at Rail Cargo Group (RCG). Since March 2019, there has been an apprentice exchange programme between RCG and UnitCargo, a successful logistics firm that focuses on international truck transport. The aim of the scheme is to give the apprentices on each side a practical insight into the other transport carrier. This training partnership is a decisive factor in successfully presenting ourselves to our younger target group as one of the industry’s top training companies, both now and in the future.

Sparking curiosity and offering opportunities

At RCG, we see our apprenticeship training programme as an integral part of our broader efforts to nurture young talent. The training structure doesn’t just give apprentices the technical skills they need; we also encourage further professional development, awaken their curiosity about the broader subject area and offer insights into exciting aspects of this professional field. Our best practices on this front include our RCG Europe Weeks (stays abroad for apprentices, note) and sustainability-related initiatives, such as the “energy driving licence”, which our apprentices have been able to obtain for about five years. We bring young people into contact with issues such as sustainability, energy conservation and climate neutrality at an early stage. This gives them extra motivation and helps them to make impressive progress in these areas in their later professional careers. The training partnership with UnitCargo adds yet another facet to this integrative approach.

Job rotation in the RCG & UnitCargo training partnership

As part of the current job rotation, RCG apprentice Moritz Kalchbrenner is employed at UnitCargo in the international logistics division, while UnitCargo apprentice Laura Sertic has already completed a three-month practical placement at RCG, during which she gained insights into international railway logistics and the rolling road (ROLA). Both have got stuck into their respective training programmes and are having lots of exciting experiences. But let’s allow them to tell us their views for themselves:

"What I think is really great about this exchange is that I was able to get to know a completely different world of logistics and am now able to pass on my new knowledge of this industry within RCG."

Moritz Kalchbrenner, 3rd year apprentice forwarding agent at RCG

“The things I will most take away from my experience at RCG are how such a large organisation works together and what railway logistics involves."

Laura Sertic, 3rd year apprentice forwarding agent at UnitCargo

Through the partnership with UnitCargo, the apprentices not only learn the theory behind the other mode of transport, but they can also join in with the practical work. They then take these experiences back to their own company’s training programme. The scheme also helps them in terms of subject knowledge for their final apprenticeship exam and serves as an essential prompt to think outside the box more often and to get to know other perspectives on corporate culture and teamwork.

“We knew we were breaking new ground when our training programme started in 2019. That’s because even though we are rivals on the market, we want to work together as an industry to develop up-and-coming staff who are competent right across the board,” say RCG Training Manager Franz Heissenberger and UnitCargo CEO Davor Sertic, both of whom are convinced by the concept. In any case, the partnership is set for continued success.