A career day to expand the horizons of young people raised in the age of COVID-19

Sumitomo Deutschland’s CSR Team organized a career day at their office, welcoming fourteen 17-year-old students from a local school.

Helping young people find a path in life

In today’s world, many students struggle to decide what they want to do with their lives. This uncertainty has only been intensified by the unique challenges faced by the generation that grew up during the COVID-19 pandemic. For three years, they experienced isolation, at a crucial time when they should have been socializing and exploring the world. As a result, it may be difficult for some of them to envision working at a traditional company with fixed working hours.

Simultaneously, many schools in Germany are dealing with understaffing issues, placing an immense burden on teachers. While parents understandably expect schools to prepare their children for society and working life, teachers are stretched thin, making it exceptionally challenging for them to fulfill these expectations.

In light of this context, we organized a career day at our office to bridge this gap, aiming to broaden young people’s horizons and expose them to a real working environment.

Sharing our insights with the next generation

On the day of the event, there was a buzz in the air, as members of Sumitomo Deutschland eagerly anticipated visitors in the office after three years of the pandemic. Many volunteered to contribute as presenters, office tour guides, or even kitchen assistants.

The students were welcomed at the reception area, before heading to the meeting rooms on the third floor for some lessons. Volunteers from various business units shared insights into their departments, roles at Sumitomo Corporation, and the scope of their work, and the HR Department covered the do’s and don’ts of job interviews. As the students were from a bilingual school, these presentations were all conducted in English, with the presenters focusing on clarity and understandability. Additionally, the office’s apprentice provided a unique perspective of her daily life, juggling work and school, and explained the apprentice system*.

A member of the Infrastructure Business Unit explaining offshore wind power generation.
A member of the Non-Ferrous Dept. explains office life while showing the students around.

For the second part of the career day, the students were given an office tour to show them the company’s working environment. This was followed by a quiz in the lunchroom to see how much they had retained, with prizes awarded to the top three scorers. The day concluded with a multicultural lunch featuring both Japanese and German cuisines, allowing students to mingle with the volunteer staff.

  • In Germany, the apprentice system, also known as the “dual education system,” is a unique vocational training model that combines practical on-the-job training at a company with theoretical classroom instruction.

Message from a participating staff member

It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm of the students during the quiz and very encouraging to hear that one of them was considering applying for an apprenticeship with Sumitomo. The teacher also suggested making it a twice annual event, so overall, I think the reaction was very positive.

Currently, we are looking into hosting further career days and other events in 2024, incorporating some of the feedback from the post-event questionnaire. We believe that Sumitomo Corporation still has a lot more that it can offer the next generation!

Deirdre Crehan, Corporate Management
Aline Finke, Trade Risk Management Dept.

March 2024