From Italy to the Black Forest28. February 2018
Environmental engineer Giacomo Pieretti from Italy has just returned from a placement at the fischer headquarters in the Black Forest. We got in touch to find out more about his experiences.
When Giacomo Pieretti completed his studies at the University of Padua in 2016, little did he imagine that his next move would be to the Black Forest, Germany. But while attending an event at fischer Italy, he unwittingly set the next stage of his life into motion.
During the event, Pieretti learned about possible placements with the company. Seeing an overlap with his studies and interests, he decided to seize the opportunity. “fischer is an important company in Italy and a market-leader in its sector. I thought I could learn from them and study how fischer manages waste. For me, as an environmental engineer, it’s important to understand how big industries are working towards a circular economy.”
Fortunately, his efforts paid off: Pieretti was offered work in fischer Italy’s environmental and quality office, starting in January 2017.
After a productive and enriching few months, Pieretti became curious about the international aspect of the company; a desire that he shared during a meeting with a quality representative from Germany.
Impressively, out of this informal discussion grew a concrete offer for a five-month placement at the fischer headquarters in Waldachtal in the Black Forest. And soon he found himself in the research and development team at fischer HQ, supporting laboratory testing. “It’s an experience I’ll never forget,” he tells us. “The R&D department at fischer is very a special place.”
Same same but different
The first thing he was struck by was the size of the headquarters. “The office in Germany has around three times as many employees as in Padua!”
Then there were the more subtle cultural aspects. “In Germany, the day is more scheduled. For example, everyone has breakfast in the office at 9am,” explains Pieretti. “And I really liked my German colleagues’ habit of saying hello to everyone each morning and shaking their hand. It’s a good way to start the day.”
Pieretti even compares the headquarters to being like “a home”. He would often spend time with his colleagues outside of work, from company runs to the fischer football tournament. Another highlight was the company restaurant where he sampled local Swabian cuisine or dishes cooked up by guest chefs, such as Harald Wohlfahrt (regularly voted one of the best in Germany).
Of course, there were challenges too. Such as learning a completely new language. Pieretti arrived in Waldachtal with no German and found the local dialect “an extra challenge”. However, after attending a course and thanks to his colleagues who persuaded him to speak German whenever possible, after a few months Pieretti could understand one-to-one conversations and even gained an A1 language qualification.
Apart from added benefits such as getting to know his new colleagues, Pieretti explains that he also gained an invaluable overview of how fischer works. This included the fischer philosophy: “Their focus on process optimization and lean production is something I am keen to apply in all my work,” he tells us. Giacomo is very grateful to his colleagues in Germany and Italy for the opportunity. “I now really understand what it means to work in a truly international company!”