The women who took her chance to grow

After several internships within the group all around Europe, Jana came back to Brussels to start her career as Prevention Advisor, a job she originally did not have in mind. But she was motivated to face the challenge, to learn new things and to develop - and it has paid off.


Jana, you work as Prevention Advisor at Audi Brussels. Can you tell us what your tasks as Prevention Advisor are? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Well, a few months ago I didn’t know what a Prevention Advisor was either. I studied Applied Economics which is very different from what I do now. This really is a job that I got through my internship at Audi Brussels. As Prevention Advisor my goal is to make our working environment safer and to stimulate the people that work here to consider safety issues in their daily working life. That concerns working on robots, but also the equipment and the materials we use. My job specifically is less about the technical part as I am mainly responsible for everything around safety communication and safety culture. I use our company app and the screens in the factory to publish campaigns and news about how to behave in a safe manner. And I implement different actions like workshops to train the management how to encourage their people regarding safety aspects. Furthermore, I am responsible for everything around safety trainings for all employees.

Being Prevention Advisor is not your first experience at Audi Brussels. You have already gained experiences at Audi Brussels and in the VW group through various internships. Can you tell us something about those internships?

My first internship at Audi Brussels was short, but very interesting. I had no projects on my own, because I followed a manager of the HR department for three weeks. I could go with him to every meeting and learn how to organize and lead people or how to distribute and delegate tasks. It was really interesting to understand the perspective of a manager. Afterwards, I spent a year in Spain where I finished my studies. There, I also did an internship at Volkswagen Navarra where I worked in the HR department as well. Then I came back to Belgium to complete my master’s degree in Applied Economics with a specialization in HR & Organization Management. I had to do an internship once again which I did at the medical service of Audi Brussels. I worked together with the psychologist on the burnout-program. My part was the scientific research in order to restructure and add psychological elements to the questionnaire that is handed out during the medical check-up.

Moreover, you got the possibility to present the results of your work for the burnout-program at a management meeting at Audi Brussels.

Indeed. That was actually where I met the manager that is now responsible for me. There we got in touch, we talked about my work, what my ambitions were and how I liked working at Audi Brussels. Then he proposed me a job as Prevention Advisor and after passing the complete recruiting process, I am here. Since I did not have any theoretical background I needed for my job, I am still having some courses to finish my Prevention Advisor degree. I am working four days per week and one day per week I go to school. I still have one year to go and then I will reach level 1, which is the highest degree possible.

What advantages did you have thanks to your internships? Did you learn something that helps you in your job?

If you work at Audi Brussels, you meet many people and you get a lot of knowledge just by exchanging ideas with them. During my internships, I got to know a lot of departments and how they work. That was a big advantage, because I was not lost when I started working here. In addition, my HR experience helped me a lot to handle the specific tasks I do at the Prevention Service. In my opinion, these tasks are more like an HR function but then applied to safety.

What motivated you the most to work for Audi Brussels?

"I feel very free here and that is really important for me. I got the opportunity to do something that I did not actually knew in the beginning."

Now, it is so interesting to do it. That is really, what motivated me the most. First, I was afraid because I knew nothing about the content of the job. I was not sure whether this could be something for me. Nevertheless, Audi Brussels gave me the opportunity to grow, also as a woman. I got the opportunity to do something more technical even though I didn’t have the knowledge on paper. What I had, were the different experiences through my internships here and my motivation. Audi Brussels really gives you the chance to do something new and guides you to a new job.

Now you can stand up as a woman in a department where probably not that many women worked before.

Yes, indeed. I was the only women in the department when I arrived and now we are already three. We are moving with little steps but we are trying to attract more and more women in our company.

"I think it is important to show as a woman that you can also do a technical job."

If you really want to learn and are open for new things, you can do it. However, you also have to be open for the chances you get and you have to take them. I got the chance and I took it because I wanted to proof that I can do that job.

How do you like it to work in Brussels?

I don’t actually feel like we’re in Brussels here as the factory isn’t located in the city center. I live on the countryside in a small village. Because I’m a really busy person at work and I give a lot of energy, I like the silence when I am at home. But I love that Audi Brussels is close to everything you need. It is very easy to come here by car which really is an advantage. In addition, our plant is located next to a lovely park and the center of Forest.

We are coming to the end of the interview. What advice can you give to our future interns?

Don’t be afraid to show what you got. If you want to try something new, give your input to your responsible. Try to put your own stamp on it and show who you really are. Maybe you get the opportunity to start in a great company in the end!