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"We have a great work environment"

Leonie Breh works as the chairwoman for the youth and trainee representation at the University of Freiburg

Freiburg, Sep 06, 2017

"We have a great work environment"

Photo: Klaus Polkowski

She is an electronics technician for devices and systems, works in the technical engineering area of the Faculty of Biology, and completed her training in 2015 at the University of Freiburg. For over three years, Leonie Breh has worked for the youth and training representation (JAV). During her chat with Nicolas Scherger, she talks about the work of the committee that she has headed since January 2017 and the benefits that training at the University offers.

Leonie Breh wants to create a more closely knit group of trainees.
Photo: Klaus Polkowski

Frau Breh, why did you decide to complete a training degree at the University of Freiburg?

Leonie Breh: It was a combination of coincidence and luck. I spent my first year as a trainee in a company and was looking for a change. One of my teachers connected me with the University because a spot in its electronics repair shop in the Institute of Physics opened up. It was a perfect fit and I am so happy it worked out.

What did you like most about it?

You get individual attention and other opportunities that aren't possible in the private sector –chemistry lab technicians are able to participate in some student internships, for instance. The companies know that the training at the University is very good. That's why it's no problem to get a job after graduation without question.

You remained at the University after completing your training. Why?

We have a great work environment, especially in biology. It's almost like a family here. I find the repair shop to be very pleasant because we aren't working with the kind of pressure to produce that you see in the private sector. You learn something new every day. I also like the flextime. That way I am able to complete my correspondence course to become a technician while working at the same time.

When and how did you first come into contact with JAV?

Every year the JAV does a presentation during orientation for the new trainees. I got to know a few colleagues there and got into a conversation with the representative from the staff council. She later asked me if I wanted to stand for election for the JAV.

Why did you agree to it?

I think it is very important that your education run smoothly. That is why I have gotten involved to try to contribute to the trainees' well-being. I really like the job. At the beginning of 2017, I started my second term in office that will run another two and one-half years.

What kinds of issues do the trainees bring to the JAV?

They can ask us all kinds of questions relating to their training. They can also come to us when there are work-related issues. We get into a conversation with the trainee or the instructor and, depending on the situation, also receive support from the staff council or the union. But that is rather rare because luckily the training program seldom has such problems at the University.

What other responsibilities does the JAV have?
We participate in the weekly staff council meetings, for instance, and have a vote when it comes to questions about the training program. Besides, we are also involved in every interview for applicants to the training program.

What are you planning for your second term?

In my experience, one thing is for certain: It is difficult to maintain contact with the other trainees because they are strewn across the entire University campus, working in completely different areas. Our goal is to create a more closely knit group. For one, we want to achieve that by offering larger events: with our "Training Day Campaign", visits to companies or the JA meet-ups. Another way is to address the trainees via e-mail and offer spontaneous meet-ups after hours.

At the beginning of September 22 new trainees have joined the University. Which tips would you want to offer them?

I personally noticed how important it was to write a protocol from the get-go. Otherwise, you have to do everything at once at the very end. And I also hope that as many new trainees as possible participate in the JAV events.


Training Day Campaign 2017

This year's Training Day Campaign will take place in Peterhof on October 10, 2017. There will be separate groups for both the trainees and the instructors: The program includes such topics as "Safety-conscious behavior in dangerous situations," and "Internet security" as well as self-defense courses. The program is free and all attendees can take the day off in order to participate.

For further information and registration for the campaign day, please visit

JAV website

Job training programs at the University of Freiburg

With nearly 6,800 staff members, the University of Freiburg is one of the largest employers and training centers in the region. Around 80 trainees are currently working in the administration, in the repair shop, in the botanical garden and in the University library. The following professions are available: chemistry lab technician, electronics technician, precision engineering technician for devices and systems, office managers, specialists in media and information services and higher service in libraries – academic librarians.

For further information