Trainee around the world: Christoph in Canada

06 Jun 2024
Whether Linz, Vienna, Frankfurt or Toronto: Christoph gained valuable experience in many places during his trainee program. In this interview, he talks about what shaped him – especially during his time working on the Canadian tunnel construction project.

Why did you choose the trainee program at STRABAG?
After studying civil engineering in building construction, I found out about STRABAG through the Arbeitsmarktservice (short: AMS, an Austrian employment service). Based on my education and my future plans, my current supervisor recommended the trainee program to me. In the short or medium term, I would like to gain experience in construction management and broaden my horizons. In the long term, I would like to take on a management role, preferably as a group leader or higher up.

I chose STRABAG as a large, established company where I see many development opportunities for my future. I would like to work on larger projects and take on more responsibility over time. Of course, I could also have started as a regular technician or site manager. However, I opted for the trainee program in order to gain a good and broad insight into the company, see many different construction sites and get to know as many different personalities as possible, even outside of Linz and Austria. This opens up many opportunities for my career path at STRABAG.

How did your trainee program go?
At the beginning, I was in Linz on a construction project for a new building, then for about two weeks in Controlling and one week at STRABAG BMTI in Marchtrenk. Later, I worked on a residential construction site in Gallneukirchen, where I spent the majority of my traineeship and was even allowed to take over site management for a short time. That was very exciting.

I later spent two weeks at the BIM construction processes department in Vienna and then a month at CML Construction Services, also in Vienna. At the end of last year, I was able to gain further insights at the Building Information Modeling (BIM) department in Frankfurt – super interesting! And after that, I was off to Toronto.

  • A trainee program is a great start to professional life for anyone who is interested in new things and wants to see the big picture: getting to know lots of different people and departments in the Group, making contacts – also for the future.

    Site Manager (former trainee)

What made a particular impression on you during your trainee program?
The mega project in Toronto in particular gave me new insights into a different world and I learned a lot not only professionally, but also as a person. The collaboration with the site manager had a particularly strong impact on me: he was not only a professional and always showed full commitment, but also remained solution-oriented and objective even in challenging situations. That impressed me.

To what extent do your actual trainee activities differ from those in the "foreign assignment"?
In Linz, my tasks were mostly construction technician tasks, in Toronto too. But in Canada I was assigned to a civil engineering project. So the focus was different, but the switch from building to civil engineering went smoothly.

I only had to learn a few English tunnel construction terms in the first few days. With the expanded vocabulary, many meetings and decisions were exciting to experience. It was also important to have the know-how to create plan drawings and all the reports that the team had to produce.

Professional insights and leisure time in Canada

"Overall, I learned a lot in the months I was on the road alone - both professionally and on a personal level," says Christoph. Here are a few impressions from this time:

The tunnel boring machine in action.

What impression from your time in Canada do you particularly remember?
I was directly assigned to the site manager, more precisely: the tunnel boring machine manager (TBM manager). Being so close to the decisions on what to do next with the tunnel boring machine made a big impression on me. I learned a lot from working with the TBM construction manager – a very cool guy, technically excellent and also a pleasant person. No matter what challenges arose during the project, he always kept calm and proceeded in a considered manner.

  • I was impressed that despite the international diversity in the site office, the teams worked so well together - language barriers were not an issue.

    Site Manager (former trainee)

And the journey goes on...
I am currently working on the project where I was already involved as a trainee and and am supporting the team there in site management. In the future, I'll be working as a site manager in Linz or perhaps on another major project.

Thank you Christoph for the exciting insights, have fun and continued success on your path at STRABAG!