Finding a career through practical experience

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When he started his graduate traineeship in 2008 Joel Bowden was uncertain about his career path. Five years later he’s in charge of exports for ASSA ABLOY New Zealand and part of the country’s management team.

"When I started my traineeship my educational experience was quite broad. I was unsure exactly where I wanted to go with my career. The graduate program gave me exposure to many different business units and experiences that enabled me to make a much more informed decision.

That was the key. Because of the trainee program I received a significantly increased level of development opportunities. Over my two-year program I spent three months at a time in different parts of the company with quite varied responsibilities, from helping to manage a production team to implementing our website.

When my graduate placement was coming to an end I was fortunate to be offered a role as a product manager. I was really prepared for this role due to my understanding of the business and previous work with cross-functional teams.

Now I’m responsible for the export team, managing the full sales and customer service functions and am a member of the New Zealand management team. In this role I get to meet some great people across a very wide array of cultural backgrounds. I have opportunities to see the world and learn from some very effective leaders.

I have to admit that when I applied for the graduate trainee position I didn’t know a lot about ASSA ABLOY, or Interlock as it was formerly known – I was drawn more by the role than the company. But I’ve stayed with ASSA ABLOY for more than five years largely because of what a great company ASSA ABLOY has proven to be and the opportunities I have had.

There is no doubt in my mind that the program has greatly accelerated my development professionally and within the organization."