Natascha Brosthaus

Company:BYK-Chemie GmbH              
Role:Laboratory Assistant Apprentice 
Has been with the company since:2009

Please desribe us how your apprenticeship as coating laboratory assistant looked like
The coating laboratory assistant apprenticeship is very well-rounded at ALTANA. In addition to theory, you also learn practical handling of the coatings: from the calculation of the coating formulations, the manufacturing, the application on different substrates such as wood or metal, to drying and assessing coatings. The instruction does not just take place in the vocational school; there is also theoretical instruction that takes place once a week with the instructor.

Within the ALTANA Group the exchange and networking between apprentices from different companies is promoted. Would you please tell us a bit about that? 
There is an interactive exchange with the other apprentices as soon as the vocational school. By listening to their stories I was also able to learn about other areas of the coating industry. In addition, we also exchanged information when we have industry-specific questions. Not only that, but ALTANA also gives the apprentices the opportunity to exchange by participating in internships in other companies.

What have you learned in vocational school?
I had block-style lessons because the vocational school is located in Wuppertal. So classes were only for a couple of weeks every couple of months. The vocational school is a good complement to everyday work activities. What is learned in practice is coupled there with the theory. Thus one is always learning more about the subject area of "coatings". Learning was very comfortable since the classes were very small. The instructor, for example, could address the problems of the individual students.

Do you have any advice for those looking for an apprenticeship spot?
Do an internship! First, it allows a person to determine whether this profession is the right one for them. And second, it is always a positive sign for the employer that the applicant has completed an internship.

After successfully completing your apprenticeship, you have continued to remain with ALTANA. Why? And what are you doing now in your first job since you qualified?
I stayed on at ALTANA because I always felt at ease here. I also enjoyed the work, and the relationship with my colleagues was always good.
I am now working in the  printing inks department. Here, we are engaged in finding additives for different printing inks and then printing these inks in a variety of ways. It is also very interesting to be in contact with customers from all over the world.