A leap towards becoming more global

The trainee group during introduction week, with James Clark, trainee from U.K. in the middle, Agurtzane Erdozia, trainee from Spain on the left and myself on the right. Photo: Jonas Bilberg

I am part of the first international trainee group at ABB Sweden. I will share my experiences and give insights into the program from a global perspective.

Having moved to Sweden from U.S. just over a year ago in 2017 and heading towards the end of my master’s degree, I was desperately looking for jobs that did not require Swedish language fluency. I was looking for an international company that would fit my global aspirations and experiences. Luckily, I found ABB trainee program just when ABB decided to make the trainee program more international by eliminated the requirement of fluency in Swedish; instead requiring fluency in Swedish or English. This small change in trainee program requirement had a huge impact, for me personally, as well as for the future of the trainee program. In practice, this meant that for first time in trainee program history, the program was now conducted in English, which opened the door for international trainees.

Experiences as first international trainee group

So yes, I am part of the first international trainee group at ABB Sweden. It is a diverse group with four international trainees from U.K., Spain, Italy and U.S. as myself. I believe that this diversity has brought a new dimension to this program and has enriched our experiences during the program. We share knowledge of each other’s countries, cultures and values, which has allowed us to broaden our outlook and think more globally.

Although I am learning Swedish, I have never found my inadequacies in the language to be a hindrance for me during my time at ABB so far. My fellow Swedish trainees are always willing to help with understanding spoken or written Swedish at work, if ever needed. They also encourage me to learn by conversing with me in Swedish and explaining new words.

Trainees grabbing a coffee together after customer visit in Gothenburg.
Trainees grabbing a coffee together after customer visit in Gothenburg.

Global aspects of trainee program

ABB has a global presence in roughly 100 countries. Being part of such a global company means that you get to work with people from all over the world, even as a trainee. As part of the program, you will get the opportunity to do a short term assignment aboard. Depending on your choice of permanent role, business unit and availability of assignments, there is a wide range of countries you can choose from. This is one of the main advantages of working for such a global company.

But your global exposure is not just limited to the assignment abroad at the end of the program. During the trainee assignments you may also get to work with people across the global. In my first assignment at Robotics Research and Development, I arranged meetings with technical experts from U.S., China, Czech Republic and Germany in order to fully understand the technology I was working with. During my second assignment as a product manager for pulp and paper quality testing equipment, I was in contact with sales persons in several countries, including Japan, Indonesia, India and Northern European.

Another way the trainee program promotes a global outlook is through language courses, where trainees can choose to learn any language, including Swedish for non-natives, and ABB will reimburse part of the cost for the course. I have of course chosen to study Swedish, but you can, for example, choose Chinese if you plan to do your short term assignment in China.

Overall, ABB trainee program is a great way to start a career as part of an international group at a truly global company.

Learn more about the ABB Trainee Program.


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Ghazal Amar

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