Flexibility and the motivation to get involved in new things are essential as a trainee. In order to be able to play an active role in shaping the company, you should definitely think "out-of-the-box".

I started as an HR trainee at ING in October 2016 on the "Talent, Learning & Recruiting" team. I worked for half a year on the relaunch of the career site. Afterwards, I was assigned to our location in Nuremberg to support the HR Business Partners there. Before I went abroad for my STA, I was part of the HR Services & Payroll Team and worked on these topics there.

What have you done up to now and where exactly are you working now?

After school I did an apprenticeship as an office clerk in Düsseldorf and I already developed my passion for human resources there. Afterwards, I decided to do a bachelor's degree at the University of Greifswald and then completed my master's degree at the University of Applied Sciences in Coburg with a focus on human resources.

How did you hear about ING's International Talent Programme and why did you choose it?

It was clear to me that I wanted to work in the Frankfurt or Regensburg area,

so I specifically informed myself of potential trainee programs in those cities and came across the ING's advertisement. I got informed about the ING on kununu in advance. I also read through the trainee interviews and reports at that time on the homepage, which was the main reason that I applied right away. After a short time, I received an invitation to take online tests. From then on, everything went very fast. I passed the tests successfully and was invited to their Company Day.

International experience plays an important role in this program. Have you already been abroad?

I went to Australia and worked in Sydney for three months. I went through a rotation in the Leadership & Learning Team. After the STA, I had the opportunity to travel around in Australia for another month.

International networking is an important part of the trainee program. What is your experience working in an international environment? What is special about it?

At the moment, I’m realizing that work is becoming more international than it was before I started in 2016, and the exchange with other countries, and of course with the Netherlands in particular, is growing all the time.

In the ITP you also get to know many trainees from other tracks on an international level, with whom you can exchange ideas on a personal as well as a professional level.

How do you feel about ING’s corporate culture, here in Germany, as well as during your stay abroad?

I was completely surprised that ING’s corporate culture in Frankfurt is very similar to the culture in Australia. There was hardly any difference for me whether I got on the elevator here or in Sydney in the morning.

As far as corporate culture in general is concerned, I feel very positive here and in Australia. I particularly like the informality and the way we work together. Meeting with colleagues for coffee to exchange ideas is also very much encouraged. This also allows you to get to know colleagues from different departments and to network. At our locations in Germany, it’s very common to go to the canteen with different colleagues at lunchtime - I think that's great!

We have a particularly high degree of interaction within the personnel area. It’s something that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. The "New way of working" concept, where you look for a different job every day, naturally contributes to this.

What’s so special about the trainee program at ING? What are your concrete experiences?

The international events are very important to me, and of course the exchange with my peers, i.e. with the other trainees from different countries. And not to forget the various training opportunities and certificates that make the whole thing very special.

Which project or topic was a highlight during your rotations?

That would clearly be my current rotation in a global HR project where I’ll also be starting my first job. I’m also currently supporting our HR Squad, where we are working with new agile methods and shaping the transformation of ING into the first agile bank in Germany.

What further education or training does the program provide for you?

As an HR Trainee, we get Scrum training to further promote the topic of agility and to expand our knowledge of it. We also have the opportunity to do the Six Sigma Greenbelt. The "Chartered Financial Analyst" (CFA) is another certificate that is on our training agenda. Otherwise, further training or certificates are open and we have the opportunity to incorporate our own ideas and concepts.

What are good criteria for someone interested in the trainee program?

Flexibility and motivation to get involved in new things are what being a trainee is all about. In order to actively participate, you have to think "out-of-the-box" and be able to see beyond your own nose. I think enthusiasm for working internationally and an extroverted personality are very helpful, because many activities take place in large groups, even abroad. Especially as an HR trainee, you should have professional knowledge and very good English skills.

What other things motivate you in life besides your job? What are your passions?

The first thing that comes to mind is sports. I am particularly enthusiastic about mountain biking and I recently started kitesurfing. Apart from that, travelling, discovering and getting to know new things. I am totally enthusiastic about adventure and always need a bit of action.

How do you envision your future? What do you think will come after the trainee program?

After my rotations, I will start in the HR Steering & Project Management team HR Unite and work on transformation projects. I will also be given the opportunity to provide support in process and regulatory issues.

What does this program prepare you for? What are the challenges?

It prepares me for an international future and constantly changing topics. Through the network I have been able to build up, I have the opportunity to clarify and move things quickly and directly.

The challenge is clearly to constantly adapt to new things. Through the rotations, you will always find yourself in a new team, where, of course, new structures, working methods and ways of thinking are also present. The advantage here is, of course, that you get a deep insight into a wide variety of topics in a very short time.

About Karola

Locations: Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Sydney

Focus: Talent, Learning & Recruiting, HR Services & Payroll, Leadership & Learning Team

My Highlight: "It is clearly my current rotation in a global HR project, where I will also be taking on my first job. I'm also currently assisting on our HR squad."

Why ING: "The international events are very important to me. And not to forget the different training possibilities and certificates, which make it all very special".

My tip for applicants: "Flexibility and the motivation to get involved in new things are essential as a trainee. In order to be able to actively participate, you should definitely think "out-of-the-box" and look beyond your own nose.”

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