Laura Merdenz works as Industrial Management Assistant at NORMA Group.
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From Apprentice to Industrial Management Assistant

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As a calculator in finance, I work with different departments on a daily basis and I am in contact with many different people. This makes my work versatile and diverse.

My main tasks include determining our product manufacturing costs, creating new part numbers and maintaining the relevant master data in our Enterprise Resource Planning System. This means that product-specific information such as part names, material, dimensions and product group is entered in our local database.

An Abitur or a college degree is not always crucial – you can achieve something in your career in other ways.

My other activities include transferring part prices within NORMA Group. I am in daily contact with colleagues who are employed at our sites abroad, such as Poland, the Czech Republic and the US. Communication is in English, which allows me to use and refresh my knowledge of English on a regular basis.

After completing my secondary school diploma, I started my apprenticeship as an industrial management assistant at NORMA Group. It was clear to me early on that I did not want to study, but would rather learn a profession.

Laura Merdenz tracks how many clamps are assembled in a given time.
Laura Merdenz tracks how many clamps are assembled in a given time.

It’s my opinion that an Abitur (German university entrance exam) or a college degree is not always crucial and that you can achieve something in your career in other ways. Practical learning especially offers a lot of knowledge that can’t be taught in school. The apprenticeship has helped me become very independent, gain experience in various commercial areas and grow a lot personally.

I opted for the apprenticeship as an industrial management assistant since it’s very diversified and wide-reaching. Vocational school teaches you the basics of business administration, economics and accounting. Politics and English are also included.

On eye level with instructors

Meanwhile, I’ve gone through the company’s various commercial areas. I’ve ultimately been able to understand many connections and the interplay between the various departments. It was exciting to spend several months working in a department and gain insight there.

What does my normal workday look like? What are my priorities? What departments work together? Do the activities involved interest me? Do I enjoy them? I’ve gotten to know myself better, both my strengths and weaknesses, and have discovered new interests.

Stations of my Apprenticeship

On September 1, 2014, I started my apprenticeship. In the first week, I was allowed to get a feel for the spectrum of industrial training and was assigned to the training workshop. I was allowed to independently drill, mill and file.

Stations of my Apprenticeship

After that, I was in production control for six weeks. Three weeks in plastic and three in metal. I learned how to plan and manufacture customer orders in production.

Stations of my Apprenticeship

From November 2014, I spent about 3 months in quality management. During that time, I was already independently accountable for tasks such as invoices and writing 3D reports, and I also participated in an audit.

Stations of my Apprenticeship

After that, I worked for 6 months in calculation and had my own area of responsibility.

Stations of my Apprenticeship

In August 2015, I moved to human resources and then to purchasing.

Stations of my Apprenticeship

Then I was in sales. During this period, I was assigned a customer for whom I was responsible and allowed to look after.

Stations of my Apprenticeship

During my stay abroad in April 2016, I spent about a month working for NORMA Group customer service in the UK.

Stations of my Apprenticeship

On January 11, 2017, I finished my apprenticeship. Thanks to my strong performance at vocational school and on the job, I was able to shorten it by half a year.

Every department has an apprentice instructor looking out for the apprentices and available to them as a contact.

Particularly when you’ve been working in a department for a longer time, you get everyday tasks that you’re allowed to work on independently. It’s a nice feeling to already be given certain responsibilities as an apprentice and for my colleagues to treat me as an equal.

Stays Abroad for Exchange

After each department change, I had an appraisal interview in which I always received constructive assessments and was allowed to provide feedback myself.

Especially during the apprenticeship, I was supported with in-house classes and regular English lessons and prepared for final exams. You also have options like a stay abroad. I was able to work for one month in England, in customer service at our site there. That was a great experience.

If you’re still interested in continuing training after the apprenticeship, NORMA Group very much encourages and supports you.

Let's start your apprenticeship!

You want to apply? Send your application documents to Please send us a cover letter, the skilled occupation you wish to train in, your school and career details, school reports for the last two school half-years and proof of any periods of practical internships.

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