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Interview Gitte Hornung – Operational Technology Trainee at Heineken

Are you considering a career in engineering, but wondering what it’s really like to work in the field? Look no further than our interview series with entry-level engineers at Heineken, Ampelmann, Eurofins, and Vattenfall. 

We’ve had a chat with Gitte Hornung, an Operational Technology Trainee at Heineken. Get an inside look at Gitte’s day-to-day work, learn about the unique company culture at Heineken, and discover why she’s passionate about her role as an Operational Technology Trainee.

What is your full name and what is your position at Heineken?

My name is Gitte Hornung and I started at Heineken a few months ago as an Operational Technology Trainee. 

What did you do before starting at Heineken?

Before starting at Heineken, I completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the TU Delft. During my Master’s, I specialised in the field of Multi-Machine Engineering, which focuses on the logistics and production domain. This aligns well with my passion for technology that I have had since I was young.

In addition to my studies, I participated in various committees and boards. This has taught me a lot about myself, but also broadened my horizons by working with different people in different areas.

How do you experience your role as an Operational Technology Trainee?

The role of Operational Technology Trainee suits me very well. It’s a position that provides a lot of freedom, allowing me to discover which type of job would be a good fit for me after my traineeship. Furthermore, you are given a lot of opportunities to learn all sorts of new skills, both soft skills and technical hard skills. 

My workdays are a mix of diving into the technical details of a process or system and collaborating with colleagues. As part of my training program, I also have a few days dedicated to personal development or learning more about the company together with my fellow trainees.

What I love most about my job is that my office is located right on the brewery grounds, which allows me to frequently stroll along the production lines to observe how things are put together or ask someone a question.

What is your experience in working for Heineken and what stands out to you?

People take pride in working for Heineken. They share a passion for the product and the company itself. Personally, I am also proud to work for Heineken!

The company culture is very people-oriented, and individuals are highly supportive. There is a genuine interest in who you are as a person and how you can develop. As a trainee, you often find yourself in a position where you don’t know everything, and it can be daunting to ask questions. But no question is too silly, and everyone is willing to help you take the next step.

In addition to that, initiative is highly appreciated. It doesn’t matter what your role is within the company, but if you have an idea about how something can be improved, changed, or made more sustainable, it is taken seriously. They sometimes say here, “You make your own traineeship.” It is encouraged that you take the initiative to discover the things you want.

What is something you wish you knew before you started working in your role as Operational Technology Trainee?

The things that have been most valuable in my job are not things I learned in my studies but rather from the experiences I had outside of it. The hours I invested in my studies gave me theoretical knowledge, but the remaining hours of my student life taught me many valuable lessons. 

Therefore, I would like to advise students not to forget to enjoy everything they can do outside of their studies, such as joining committees, boards, and studying abroad, but also going on excursions organised by the study association, living in a shared student house, and having diverse groups of friends. Firstly, to simply enjoy your time as a student, but secondly, even though it may not be the primary focus at the time, it will provide valuable experiences that will likely benefit you in your future job.

Can’t wait to get started as an Operational Technology Trainee or do you want to stay up-to-date on other job openings at Heineken? Connect with Heineken on via this link