As part of her trainee programme, Leonie Prudent worked for two and a half weeks on alternating shifts at Saltigo’s Leverkusen Plant 2. A fascinating experience for the human resources trainee.

Many of our operations would be glad to have someone like Leonie Prudent on the team, as the 27-year-old is not only intelligent, but also open and natural. No wonder she was quickly accepted by her colleagues at Saltigo Plant 2, when she worked with the relevant shift in each of the three operations (CLC, HDK and DHA). The work placement in which Leonie, who was born in the Rhineland, worked on the alternating shift, is part of the LANXESS trainee programme in which 16 university graduates have taken part since last Autumn.

Helpful insights for the future

Contrary to expectations, it was not the night shift, but the early shift that Leonie found most tiring: Getting up at 3:45 a.m., in order to arrive punctually for the handover at 5:30. “That really wore me out, especially as the early shift is particularly busy”. Overall, the work placement in Production, which is male-dominated, was a “fascinating experience, which familiarised me with the core business and gave me a first impression of how the workforce here ticks. In human resources it is certainly useful to be aware of the particular needs of the production operations”. The amateur basketball player, who played in the premier league at university, and has been active in the second league since she started work, was not nervous about the work placements in the factories. On the contrary: “I looked forward to my time in the factory, and it exceeded my expectations: Everyone was really friendly to me and welcomed me into the team”.

Much support and multiple birthday parties

When Leonie talks about “her” shift, her eyes light up and you can see that she has become part of the team. She also noticed that many co-workers also do things together in their spare time. “Work on the alternating shift is something special. The co-workers are closely linked and depend on each other during the shift”, explains Gerhard Kick, Manager of Plant 2. “Furthermore, they have often been working together for years on the same shift, and spend a lot of time together. Over the course of the years, therefore, the shift becomes a kind of extended family”. She was impressed above all by how helpful her co-workers were, giving time to her and her questions: “I had a great many at first: after all, I studied economics, not chemistry.” Thanks to the support of experienced co-workers, her understanding of chemical processes grew day by day, until she was allowed to undertake minor activities herself, such as entering the fill levels of the plant and collecting product samples. But she will particularly remember her 27th birthday, which she spent on and with the DHA night shift. She smiles: “I have never celebrated my birthday so many times – first with the incoming shift, then again at night with the outgoing shift, and during the day I met up with my family. That was a fantastic experience!”

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