Ridgy-didge traineeships at MTU

Gihen Chtourou is part of the gas turbine Sales Support team at MTU Maintenance Berlin-Brandenburg, having completed her Jet Traineeship with MTU. For the last stint of her traineeship, she worked at the IGT MTU Maintenance Service Centre Australia in Perth. Gihen shares her traineeship experience with AEROREPORT.


Kangaroos, or ‘roos’, that is the first thing that comes to mind when Gihen Chtourou thinks about Australia. “I saw loads of them! Once you get out into the countryside they’re everywhere. It’s comparable to seeing cows or deer in the countryside in Germany,” the Sales Support team member says.

Luckily for her, she didn’t see any poisonous snakes or spiders. But Gihen is still glad of the comprehensive briefing and information (including some about poisonous animals) she received before arriving for her month-long stay at the Service Centre Australia, in Perth, anyway.

Jetting off

Gihen was there as part of her 18-month ‘Jet-traineeship’ with MTU. “Working at various MTU facilities is part of the trainee program,” she says. “Going to Western Australia for a month was actually my boss’ idea. Because I could work there effectively without much extra training. And also because now that I am in the Sales Support Team, I take care of the Australian region, among others.”

Jet Trainees have a target role at the end of the program. This means that their program is individually tailored to the needs of their future job, as well as geared towards getting to know as many areas and departments within MTU as possible. Like the Service Center in Australia, which is part of MTU’s gas turbine field service network alongside facilities in Brazil, Norway, Thailand and USA. The traineeship also includes professional development training with an external coach and trainee meet-ups at the facilities throughout Germany, which the jet trainees organize themselves.

Inside MTU JET, the junior entry and trainee program

This program prepares graduates and young professionals with an excellent academic record for specific jobs at MTU. Trainees gain an insight into the structure and processes at MTU over a period of 18 months. They complete a major part of their training program at one of the three MTU locations in Germany. In addition, they also have the opportunity to work at one of MTU’s international locations for a few weeks during the course of the program. The job description for JET vacancies specifies which position and which area the trainee will work in after completing the training program. The training program is thus tailored to the job advertised and equips trainees with the right skill set for their future roles. MTU’s JET program is aimed primarily at nurturing young talent for prospective management and specialist roles.

Current trainee vacancies can be found on the online job market.

You can find more information about the JET trainee program here.

Hard yakka

While a month in Australia sounds like a dream task for most people, Gihen was not the other side of the world merely for her own amusement. Sales Support tasks consist of calculations, writing offers, and coming up with ideas of how to creatively and flexibly meet customer needs – and she performed all of these with Sebastian Moerl, Managing Director of the Service Centre Australia. “In fact, it is largely down to Gihen that we successfully signed a five year long-term service agreement with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG),” he says.

“He’s kind,” Gihen is quick to interject. “I did a lot of the calculations and the reworking of offers. I also accompanied him on a trip to the customer and did background research.” For instance, discovering that FMG “owns land that is three times the size of Switzerland!”

The ethos of the Service Centre Australia is to view customers as long-term partners by building relationships, adapting to and changing with their market and operational needs. In the case of FMG, this means offering alternatives such as flexible contract types and workscopes. “Also, due to their 24/7 operations, reliability and, in turn, remote monitoring is really important to them. They simply can’t afford any downtime,” Sebastian explains. “It was great to have Gihen involved in this customer relationship from the beginning.”

The LM series gas turbine market in Australia

Close proximity to customers is one of the reasons MTU has a service center in the region. But it is also because Australia is a fast-growing market. For instance, oil and energy company Chevron Australia is currently in the final commissioning phase for 16 LM6000PF engines, and Inpex who operates a gas-winning plant in West-Australia plans to deploy 12 LM2500+G4s in the near future – both of which are comparatively large projects for the gas turbine world. This is in addition to the currently installed LM series base of 193 engines in Australia.

Learning by doing

Gihen also notes the virtues of having met many customers face-to-face. “It takes our working relationship to a different level and helps me better do my job today,” as the Australian market is unique because personal contact and relationships are key. “People don’t launch into business discussions without having asked how your family is doing first,” she explains.

Would she recommend a traineeship at MTU? “100 percent,” Gihen summarizes. She studied aerospace technology and knew that she wanted to join MTU and go into maintenance, repair and overhaul before she even applied. “It was a fantastic opportunity to get to know the company, its various facilities and departments.” In Australian slang: fair dinkum!

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