Learning by doing
Dismantling things, modifying them, assembling them and learning by doing – this was already Melanie’s thing even when she was still a little girl: “Creating something with my hands had always fascinated me.” This passion has taken her all the way to her current position as a Team Leader at Syskron. And Sarah, too, had simply always been good at physics and maths. Today, she works in our Simulation Department in Rosenheim and is delighted that she opted for a technical career: “The enthusiasm comes primarily when you get actively involved. You first have to familiarise yourself with things or topics, and then you can really enjoy them. And my interest is growing from year to year!” The two of them complement Britta and Christina in our array of professional Krones machinery manipulators and told me about their everyday work as technically gifted women.
Back then, Melanie did her training in our Profile 21 scheme, and here acquired precisely the skills she as yet lacked to complement her technological enthusiasm: “Thanks to my training as a mechatronics technician, I had an opportunity to learn what the right procedure and the right tools are for handling the problem involved. And then there were the IT and electronic components as well. That was the ideal package for me!” Even during her apprenticeship, she was out in the field worldwide for Krones, with numerous trips abroad. “Every day was different. From China and Mongolia to America – we’ve travelled everywhere. Always with new colleagues and new challenges called Variopac, Robobox and Co. At any rate, it was never, ever boring.” Her remit at Syskron meanwhile involves assisting with the cloud-based Platform Share2Act, and thanks to her previous position as a Krones service technician she’s ideally prepared: “I’m responsible for incorporating in our products the machinery- and process-related knowledge which I built up over the years on site at our clients. I’m still close to my beloved machines, but my everyday work meanwhile looks quite different from the way it used to at Krones: it no longer involves programming individual machines at the clients’ facilities, but here we operate in a release process, which culminates in the deploy button being pressed at Syskron in Regensburg. And hey presto: all clients worldwide have the same software version with all the leading-edge functions. Technology never stands still!” What does she like best about her job? Definitely the feeling of being involved in projects right from the start, being part of the team, and never standing still. And as a woman doing a technical job, she feels quite at home in the group’s family matrix: “My experience has shown me that within the Krones family, which for me includes my colleagues, the managers, but also the clients, people don’t differentiate between men and women. Of course, you can’t expect any favours just because you’re a woman, and that’s as it should be. A fair chance to show what you can do, that’s all you need as a first step. I’ve always had brilliant experiences all over the world. When it comes to your job, only two things count: passion and perseverance.”
And Sarah? She studied at Krones as part of her sandwich course in mechatronics. What’s the advantage here? You get to familiarise yourself with both facets – theory and practice: “In the first year, in the training workshop, we learned things like wiring, metalworking (meaning filing, milling, turning, drilling), pneumatics, technical draughtsmanship, and so on. In the college vacations, we were then assigned posts inside the company, with opportunities to help in assembling the machines. This gave me a closer look at control cabinet construction and filling and labelling technology. In the university part of the course, we then concentrated on theory. Mechatronics is a mixture of mechanical and electrical engineering: the subjects we studied were very multifaceted technical topics with learning contents like creating 3D drawings on the computer, programming, robotics or also maths and physics.” And her studies at Krones had yet another advantage: postings abroad! Sarah spent her internship at a subsidiary in Denmark, and her semester abroad at Victoria University in Melbourne. Meanwhile she’s been working in our Simulation Department in Rosenheim since August 2019: “The exciting thing about my job is that many components come together in our remit. We have a practical part, a CAD part, a software part, and also have to work together with numerous colleagues from various other departments – a bit of everything, so to speak.” And her supposedly complicated role as a “woman in a technical job” doesn’t bother Sarah either: “When you do your job properly, you earn acceptance. My colleagues don’t question my choice of career, that sort of thing comes mostly from my female friends, who are a bit respectful of my career choice. And you also get used to the “male sense of humour” – sometimes it can even be quite witty.”
Still worried that as a woman you’re simply not equipped to handle a technical career? Melanie takes a different view: “Trust yourself! To be perfectly honest, I myself had reservations too: can I do this? Can I cope? But today, more than twelve years later, my passion couldn’t be greater. Every morning when I wake up, I look forward to the day and the challenges it brings.” What is there to add?