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Mariella Gradler

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You’ve finished school – so what now?

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People often ask, “what’s the difference between a cooperative study program and vocational training with Deutsche Telekom"? My colleague Laura and I will help you answer this question.

I’ve asked my colleague Laura, a trainee from Recruiting, for help clarifying the difference between a cooperative study program and vocational training. Together with her, I have identified the differences between vocational training and a cooperative study program with Deutsche Telekom and summarized it all for you.


Laura is 19 and she began her vocational training as an office management administrator with Deutsche Telekom in Bonn at the start of September 2018. A month later, I started a business administration course as a cooperative university student. Now it’s been almost an entire year, the two of us say: we’ve both chosen the right path for ourselves. Here you can see what differed in our first year: Laura goes to the vocational school in Bonn-Duisdorf twice a week, on Tuesday and Wednesday, while I attend the Provadis School of International Management and Technology in blocks. I spend five weeks of each semester there with my fellow students and have additional e-learning units on various topics twice a week. 

Our fields of study are also different, of course. In the first and second semester, I had modules on topics such as business management, mathematics, statistics, economics, as well as internal and external accounting. In the upcoming semesters, my focus will change yet again and I will be choosing a major. 


Throughout her first year of study, Laura had a steady timetable. Alongside subjects like office processes, business processes, taxes, and controlling, she also had German, English, politics, and PE. Laura’s training also involves subjects such as accounting, business management, and economics – just like mine, just to a different extent. The subjects don’t change every six months in a vocational training program, whereas students on cooperative study programs have new modules every semester (i.e. every six months). These expand on the basic modules completed in the previous semester. 

 Two young adults learning together

The common time with other after force is using the Studium, also auch bei der Ausbildung moeglich.

We both work in human resources. I support the HR Marketing team, while Laura works in the Recruiting team. Our tasks are very different. Laura’s task area focuses on the organization and coordination of processes. Without her, many processes would come to a standstill. She books travel and hotels for colleagues, grants access to buildings, orders corporate IDs for new colleagues, coordinates appointments and meetings, and orders important equipment for the office. Laura is responsible for organizing onboarding for new employees. Thanks to her, you can start your first day at work without a hitch. Laura also provides the active sourcing team with support in drawing up PowerPoint presentations, keeps minutes in important meetings, and reviews résumés. 


Since I have been assigned to HR Marketing’s Trade Fairs & Events department, my tasks are also very organizational, but in an entirely different way. I support my business expert in the planning of trade fairs and events. I prepare briefings for company representatives, send off giveaways, organize new trade fair booths, and much more.   


Alongside our tasks within the company, we also receive additional learning opportunities from Telekom Vocational Training At these kinds of events, we always get to learn new things and broaden our existing knowledge. 
Like me, Laura is also being guided and supported throughout her vocational training. We both have our business experts in the company who work together with us. I have a student advisor for all things to do with my studies, while Laura has her trainer who is there to help whenever she has any questions to do with her training that go beyond functional and operational issues. We are therefore both given guidance and support at every stage of our training. 


In the end, it’s hard to recommend the one or the other. Both training paths are important, meaningful, and provide valuable experience. You need to have a general higher education entrance qualification (Abitur) for the cooperative study program. This qualification offers other possibilities when you have graduated. But of course, Deutsche Telekom also needs employees who have completed vocational training. Here there are also further development opportunities following the end of your vocational training. So no matter what you choose – you have to be fully committed to it and bring along your personality. Laura and I have some tips for you to finish:

  • Always be yourself!
  • Always ask - everyone is really helpful!
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