Young professionals need cultural competence

Twice a year, three employees visit the Malaysia Training Academy.

Looking beyond the horizon in Southeast Asia - a. hartrodt regularly makes this offer to young employees with one to five years of professional experience. In spring and autumn, three participants each are allowed to attend the company's own training academy in Shah Alam (Malaysia) for eight to ten weeks. "They should not only expand their forwarding knowledge but above all gain cultural experience," explains Thorsten Drunagel, Managing Director at a. hartrodt in Hamburg. In Malaysia, a. hartrodt employs 140 people.

Language skills and cultural competence

Drunagel worked for 13 years as Director Southeast Asia at a. hartrodt in Shah Alam near Kuala Lumpur. He knows how important are language skills and cultural competence in the forwarding business. "This is easy to learn in Malaysia, where Malay, Chinese and Indian people of different religions live and work peacefully together," he explains. In 2006, he welcomed the first young professionals to the training academy which he continued on site for many years.

Participants with different mother tongues live in a shared apartment and share a car. "They have to organise their daily lives themselves and learn to make compromises," Drunagel emphasises. In addition to their salary, they receive pocket money from a. hartrodt Malaysia.

Laura Meyn attended the training academy in 2013 shortly after completing her apprenticeship. Her roommates came from China and Indonesia. Her Malaysian colleagues were "very warm and hospitable". "All this supports globalized cooperation enormously," she says. Since her return to Hamburg, she has been working in the Asia department - "communication is easy, people know each other". As team leader for sea freight export/general cargo, she is responsible for four employees.

Age limit 21 to 30 years

The potential for a management position at a. hartrodt is decisive for participation in the training academy. "The national organisation proposes the candidates. The age limit is between 21 and 30 years", Drunagel explains. The training academy includes an English course in the mornings. In the afternoon, the young professionals learn in the office of a. hartrodt Malaysia with 80 employees "that the world of freight forwarding is not the same everywhere," says Drunagel.

By the way, the candidates for the next training academy in spring 2020 have already been chosen.