Hello, my name is Erik Frank and I finished my professional training as a wholesaler and foreign trader at Transo-Pharm Handels-GmbH in January 2021.
Vocational education in Germany takes largely place in a dual education system, in which the trainees are employed in a company and complete the practical part of their training there, while they attend vocational business school, where the theoretical part takes place. The training ends after three years, but due to good grades I was able to shorten it to two and a half years.
But as if shortening hadn’t made it difficult enough, the COVID-19 pandemic came into the picture beginning of 2020. This pandemic changed everything. We now had to wear masks, couldn’t travel where we wanted to and had to restrict social contacts. Also, schools were affected, which made quite of a mess and a challenge of the second half of my vocational training.
One reaction was a complete closure of the schools. Unfortunately, my school wasn't prepared for such a situation and older teachers had less experience with computers, so that students did not receive all study material and had to catch up on everything when classroom teaching was allowed again. The poor internet connection in some regions of Germany did not help either.
The first homeschooling phase was over after about two to three months. Then students returned back to a normal school routine. Apart from the mask mandate, breaks were only allowed to be spent with classmates and separately from the other classes.
Everything seemed fine when everyone went back to school in summer, but then the second COVID-19 wave appeared in fall and we had to face the same situation again. Thus, the second phase of homeschooling began. Schools took advantage of the time during summer and were better organized for the second wave so that homeschooling classes could take place without any problems.
Usually the students are prepared by the teachers for the final exams, but unfortunately, we got little feedback from the teachers before the exams.
However, after several weeks of intensive learning and preparation, I passed my exams and am now employed as a Junior Sales Manager at Transo-Pharm.