As an expert for engineering and manufacturing services, technology consulting and HR services, ARTS currently employs 500 interesting personalities. They contribute their expert knowledge in various areas. In our interview series, we want to know how the individual employees have found their way to ARTS, what makes their work special and what inspires and challenges them in their daily work.
Since 2017, Valeska Szalla has been working in personnel development at Airbus Operations in Hamburg via ARTS. 15 years ago she started organising Latin courses in a small language institute in Hamburg, today she organises up to 150 different courses for a four-digit number of Airbus employees.
You studied German and Russian literature and then organised Latin courses for students in a language institute during the semester break. After that you started your own business and are now working successfully at Airbus. How did this happen?
I have always been interested in literature and linguistics, which is why I decided to study literature at university. My parents encouraged me in my decision, because they thought if you do what you enjoy doing, you're good at it. After about four years, despite initial euphoria, I quit my studies and started working in a language institute. That was a very small company of three people. We organized Latin language courses for students during the semester break. So it was an absolute niche. That was in the time from 2004 - 2008, during that time Google AdWords also became big on the Internet and we used it for us and made with small budget first experiences with Google AdWords. This was an agile cooperation with little restriction from the outside. 2009 was the year of the economic crisis and the restructuring of the Bachelor's and Master's programmes. As a result, of course, a large part of our clientele passed away. That's why I made the decision to start my own business. So I became an independent trainer for German as a foreign language and came into contact with Airbus for the first time. I gave Airbus managers from Spain, France and the USA individual lessons in German. The one-to-one lessons made it possible for me to organize targeted and tailor-made lessons. At that time I was already at Airbus.
Then how did you come to ARTS?
From 2015, I decided to take up a secure office job again because I wanted to do an evening course of study in "Human Resources Management" at the VWA Hamburg. While I was still studying, I got a job in human resources development at Panasonic. Some time later I found the job advertisement of ARTS, in which they were looking for a specialist for personnel development. The job matched my profile very well, so I applied. I was then quickly suggested to the specialist department at Airbus, a short time later I had the interview and was accepted the next day. It was at the Airbus Training Centre at the time.
What were your tasks at the Airbus Training Center?
The Airbus Training Center Europe is divided between Hamburg and Toulouse and works for commercial aviation customers, especially in the A320 to A380 range. My job at the Airbus Training Center was to organize technical training for airline maintenance technicians at the various airport bases.
In Toulouse, mainly pilots are trained and Hamburg trains mainly maintenance technicians. So those who take care of flight safety by checking the aircraft after every landing. That was exciting because we only had a limited number of trainers. Some practical trainings also had to take place on the aircraft. That means that we had to have a plane at our disposal where the participants could do their training at night. This was a very interesting task because I was able to prove my coordination skills and organizational talent. The assignment ended after almost two years.
What happened after your first deployment?
The ARTS colleagues took care of the replacement and made it possible for me to continue my work at Airbus, which I started in September 2019. Since then, I have been a Learning Deployment Partner at Airbus Operations in the HR department, responsible for training internal staff. This means that I do not organise the training for Airbus customers' employees, but for their own employees. These trainings are in the area of manufacturing, i.e. all technical trainings, such as dents, scratches, riveting or surface sealing. However, the Industrial Academy is responsible for the content of the training courses. This is where the experts for the training content sit. We also work closely with the interfaces in the respective areas, the Plant Competence Managers.
In Manufacturing, I am responsible for collecting, bundling and coordinating the training needs of all departments and ensuring that they are rolled out. If there are enough registrations, I set up the dates. We have 150 possible courses in our portfolio and train a four-digit number of employees.
In addition to the daily organization of the training courses, we are also currently dealing with relevant issues relating to process optimization and, above all, streamlining: How can we find out that there is a need for training with even more advance notice? When can we know which needs there will be? What do we have to anticipate and where do we get resources from when new needs arise at short notice? How can we become more efficient with our interfaces?
Can you describe Hamburg as a project location in more detail?
On the one hand I have settled down in Hamburg, so that I now count Hamburg as my home. On the other hand, Hamburg Finkenwerder is an exciting place because I see the finished and semi-finished aircraft rolling by here. The Airbus plant here in Finkenwerder has 14,000 employees and is built like a small town due to its size. On the site there are 8 canteens with various offers, a small bank branch, a company doctor and a company fire brigade, there are sports and prevention offers directly on the factory premises, there are 5 internal bus lines and a small charter airport of its own, from which planes fly to Toulouse twice a day. Long-time employees also have their private connections here on the premises, like in a small town. So it is very interesting to work in such a company like Airbus.
What do you like about aviation and aerospace?
I am more interested in the content of my work than in the industries I work in. But in general it is very interesting to work in such a large company in the aviation industry, because high quality and safety are the top priorities for this company. This makes the training courses more relevant. The employees should not only be "employed", but also perform exemplary work due to the training. The value of training in the aerospace industry is much higher than in less safety-critical industries. Airbus will also be releasing an additional large sum in 2019 in order to be able to carry out training courses with even more budget.
What advice would you give to applicants who have difficulties with project-related placements?
The vacancies advertised by ARTS should be monitored over a period of time to see what job opportunities there are and which companies you can work for - for example, in companies where you wouldn't be able to get a foot in the door without ARTS. I have also experienced myself that I was employed by a fixed-term company and then did not get an extension at short notice. That came unexpectedly for me.
In my current employment relationship, the end of the project is foreseeable and ARTS takes care of a follow-up job in order to quickly get me back on the job again. I have, so to speak, an advocate on my side who introduces me to suitable companies and argues for me. I think that this will significantly increase the chances for an applicant. This is definitely one of ARTS' great strengths.
ARTS is always interested in giving exciting personalities the opportunity to participate in exciting projects. You can apply on your own initiative or directly for a job with us. Take advantage of the strength of ARTS and contact us. We will be happy to help you find the perfect job.