Finding a career through practical experience

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Joel Bowden, New Zealand

When I started my traineeship my educational experience was quite broad. I was unsure exactly where I wanted to go with my career. The graduate program gave me exposure to many different business units and experiences that enabled me to make a much more informed decision.

That was the key. Because of the trainee program I received a significantly increased level of development opportunities. Over my two-year program I spent three months at a time in different parts of the company with quite varied responsibilities, from helping to manage a production team to implementing our website.

When my graduate placement was coming to an end I was fortunate to be offered a role as a product manager. I was really prepared for this role due to my understanding of the business and previous work with cross-functional teams.

Now I’m responsible for the export team, managing the full sales and customer service functions and am a member of the New Zealand management team. In this role I get to meet some great people across a very wide array of cultural backgrounds. I have opportunities to see the world and learn from some very effective leaders.

I have to admit that when I applied for the graduate trainee position I didn’t know a lot about ASSA ABLOY, or Interlock as it was formerly known – I was drawn more by the role than the company. But I’ve stayed with ASSA ABLOY for more than five years largely because of what a great company ASSA ABLOY has proven to be and the opportunities I have had.

There is no doubt in my mind that the program has greatly accelerated my development professionally and within the organization.