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Post-degree launchpad: Helvetia’s trainee programme

06.02.2024 | Michèle Schaub
Helvetia’s trainee programme introduces you to various related departments for 18 months. Christof Reichmuth did just that and is now the IT Strategy & Communication Lead. He explains why he chose the programme and which doors it opened up.
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Hey Christof, how long have you been part of #TeamHelvetia?

My Helvetia journey began in September 2019 when I became a trainee. Following a fascinating and educational time as a trainee, I was offered the chance to get started as an assistant in the CEO office. I worked in this exciting role for two years before moving to IT in June 2023, where I'm now the IT Strategy and Communication Lead. In total, that’s more than four and a half years at Helvetia – time flies!

You completed Helvetia’s trainee programme. Why did you decide to launch your career this way?

After completing my master’s in business administration at the University of Zurich, I was faced with a big question: “What now?”. I didn't quite know what career path I wanted to pursue, so I decided to gain some practical experience first. My first step was an internship at Medicall, a subsidiary of Helvetia. During this time, I received an enquiry from the Next Generation team. They showed me the opportunities on offer via Helvetia’s trainee programme. And I thought: “Exciting opportunity, why not?”. I applied and then actually got accepted.

How was your trainee programme structured?

When I took part in the programme, it was stretched out over a 12-month period and wasn’t split into different specialist fields as it is today. There was still the opportunity to experience different departments, though. Firstly I worked in Smile, then I moved to Innovation Management. In both departments, I shadowed various managers and found out which topics interested me. In my view, this is the main advantage of the trainee programme. Incidentally, this is how I discovered my passion for strategy – something that I learned about during my studies but could only really fully grasp during the trainee programme.

You've mentioned a variety of insights – what about the other plus points of the trainee programme?

Every day as a trainee was different, and that is something I loved! You also get to know lots of people through the rotations, meaning you can build up a large network. This was particularly valuable for me, including when thinking about a potential permanent position at Helvetia. Towards the end of the trainee programme, I started to look for job vacancies at Helvetia. I came across a position for an assistant in the CEO office and knew immediately: this is my chance! Even though my profile didn’t match exactly with the job description, I proved my suitability to all those involved during an additional application round thanks to my motivation. The trainee programme definitely paved the way for me.

And following your time as a strategic CEO assistant, you ventured into IT. How did that come about?

My nature means I’m always compelled to seek out new challenges. So, after two interesting and insightful years, it was time for something new. When looking for a new job, the specific role wasn't the main factor; I was more interested in being able to work across different teams and departments and make a contribution both conceptually and strategically. To find out which path I should take, I had discussions with a range of managers and department heads. They all took the time to get to know me and provide an insight into their work. After these discussions, I took up the role as Strategy and Communication Lead in the IT department. An exciting step into a new world.

You’ve been in the IT department for more than half a year. What are your first impressions?

Great. I’ve settled in quickly even though I'm now working in a new department where there’s a lot to learn. Funnily enough, everything is very comprehensible, despite the digital focus. I am able to experience how we can shape the course of the future with our strategy. That is incredibly exciting, and I'm happy to be involved in actively advancing this transition.

And finally: what advice would you give to prospective trainees?

One thing that quickly became clear to me during the trainee programme was: “You are responsible for your own successes!” You decide how much you invest and therefore how much you get out of it, too. This means you need to show a lot of initiative. For me personally, it was helpful to network with as many people as possible and speak openly about my career ambitions. And something I really should mention: be open and take on different tasks. This is the only way to expand your own wealth of experience and also actively contribute towards shaping the future of Helvetia.

Apply now

Are you interested in completing Helvetia’s trainee programme? Then apply now: