A career boost for an ambitious talent

From trainee to team leader with 20 employees - for Felix Gard, the trainee program START IN Technical Management provided a real kick start into his professional life. But it's not just the excellent professional training that makes him think back fondly to his trainee days: Even today, he is still impressed about the team spirit and warmth of BASF's trainee community. In the following text, he also reveals his tips for a successful job application.


At 27, Felix Gard’s dream career is already in full swing. Since the end of 2018, he has not only been working as a maintenance manager in one of the central production facilities at BASF’s main site in Ludwigshafen but is already team leader and responsible for 20 team members. His career path at BASF started just two years earlier with a trainee position in technical engineering after graduating from TU Darmstadt with a Master’s degree in Mechanical and Process Engineering. “I went through a series of different stations within the company. From the beginning, I got to work in interesting, complex areas such as the asset management of a production plant, where I worked mainly on very challenging, technical tasks”, Felix explained. “Later, I moved on to project planning. Besides working on smaller projects in existing installations, I participated in planning a new plant. This was a major project that led to me being sent to Texas, where I spent the second year of my traineeship.”

Gaining an overview and building networks

From learning technical basics and project planning to gaining insights into various fields such as assembly or maintenance: As a trainee, Felix Gard had the opportunity to have a look at and experience several areas of the BASF world. This is why what made him so well prepared for his current position as Maintenance Manager. "The program gave me the opportunity to gain a comprehensive orientation and sound out my options. Above all, I was able to build up a network and benefit from the exchange with experienced colleagues," says Felix Gard.

No matter whether at the BASF main site in Ludwigshafen or abroad, in manufacturing or other specialist areas: The willingness to share knowledge with the junior staff from the trainee programs is enormous at BASF, he says: "At all the stations I went through, my colleagues were there to help and advise me. This way I received an incredible amount of specialist knowledge very quickly.”

A ”buddy” to support him during the first couple of months

Apart from his high-quality training, Felix was particularly impressed by the strong sense of community among BASF trainees. “In my first week, I got a visit from Timo, who introduced himself as my “buddy”. As a second-year trainee, he made sure I was able to find my way around BASF, helped me with my questions and introduced me to the trainee network. Thanks to regular events, BASF trainees have plenty of opportunities to get together. I hadn’t expected such a warm welcome.”

When asked if he would recommend a traineeship at BASF to others, he doesn’t hesitate: “Definitely! The traineeship prepared me perfectly for my position today – it would have taken a lot longer to get there without it.” And his advice for applicants? “It’s not just about grades and degrees, it’s also about personality and authenticity. I think I got accepted onto the program mainly because I had a lot of fun on the assessment day, I was relaxed – and I showed the recruiting team who I am.”