Excitement, nervousness, anticipation – the tension is virtually written on the faces of the 72 new apprentices and dual-studies students. Today though, in preparation for starting their apprenticeship on the 1st August, they will also get to know their companions for the next three years and become familiar with their new workplace on the campus of the Hamburg-based online retailer, OTTO.
In the renovated former warehouse, which is today a large event space, there is a bustle of training supervisors, older apprenticeship cohorts and naturally the key figures of the first introductory stages. Between comfy sofas, which comprise of knocked-together pallets in a sort of post-industrial charm, the candidates are getting to know each other for the first time – if they didn’t already see each other at the informal cooking party in the spring. “What type of apprenticeship are you doing?”, “Where is your first placement?” – after the initial small talk, the animated discussions amongst the diverse groups blur into one loud hubbub of noise. Starting alongside the future specialists in wholesale and foreign trade or office management, between the commercial IT experts and the students of applied computer science, this year there are also five young people who want to become specialists in e-commerce.
In Hamburg alone, more than 50 e-commerce apprentices are starting their training this year, with five of them working at Hamburg’s largest e-commerce company: OTTO. One of them is 19-year-old Anna Mortiz. The high school graduate previously had a job as a temp in the marketing sector and spends her free time looking after her foster dog or going to the gym. “At first I wanted to apply for a marketing communications apprenticeship, but then I discovered the e-commerce apprenticeship”, explains the Hamburg native. “I was really excited by the innovative training opportunity - everything takes place online nowadays. In the marketing sector in particular, a lot is changing right now. So I hope that I’ll be very well positioned after this apprenticeship.”
This is the first year that e-commerce apprentices are being trained in Hamburg in an official manner and in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and the vocational colleges. For a few years now, OTTO has been offering a dual study programme for e-commerce, in cooperation with FH Wedel (a technical college). The new apprenticeship trade will, of course, take into account the digitalisation which has completely transformed the business in the past years. Customer requirements and business models have changed within a short space of time – online business is growing rapidly. Companies that were previously only represented by their in-store presence can be found online more and more often, and the businesses operating purely online are setting the pace.
Since this development will continue to speed up, companies need new specialists who will help to shape the digital future. The new employees require sound training as they need to be able to cultivate an online shop or prepare and carry out online marketing measures. With the introduction of the new e-commerce apprenticeship, this is the first new commercial apprenticeship trade to be recognised for ten years. All companies that offer online products or services can train e-commerce specialists together with the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce.
Just like for most of her 71 colleagues from all apprenticeship programmes, Anna will now begin her Starter Days, an intensive workshop which prepares the young people for the start of their professional life. After that, numerous other seminars and workshops await the apprentices, such as bootcamps in which they can learn from the experts through practical experience. And in around three years time? The first trained e-commerce specialists will be helping to shape e-commerce in Germany.