One day isn't enough to highlight all of the opportunities for women at Deutsche Bahn and DB Cargo, so the company has designated the entire month of March as World Women's Month 2023 and is presenting profiles of seven women in seven professions at Deutsche Bahn in exciting videos.
DB on Tour in seven cities
In our DB on Tour roadshow, we're presenting DB as an attractive employer in Hanover, Leipzig, Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Karlsruhe. The highlight at the end of the month will be the big livestream finale where women answer the question, "What matters to you?" For information on jobs and the roadshow, and profiles of various female employees, see the roadshow page. You can also register for the livestream there.
Interview with locomotive driver Wiebke Lautenfeld
One of our profiles introduces DB Cargo train driver Wiebke Lautenfeld. In our interview, the 49-year-old career changer tells us what she loves about her job.
Ms Lautenfeld, you started at DB Cargo as a career changer. How did you get here, and what made the job attractive to you?
I used to work as a travelling market trader, but I wanted to have more financial security, especially as I got older. But I was also looking for a job where I could still be on the move a lot. One day I was driving behind a bus with a DB ad that said they were looking for train drivers, and right away I felt like they were talking to me. So I went to the recruiters at the DB on Tour event in Magdeburg, where I decided on DB Cargo based on my gut feeling. After the fitness test and the application process, they told me three weeks later that I could start the accelerated, one-year training programme.
What challenges did you face in your new job?
Our trainer always said our priority during training should be on the training itself and that we could deal with other big projects later. By that he meant learning the job is already hard enough and takes a lot of energy, especially at my age. Going back to school and learning about all the different locomotive models wasn't easy. Out of twelve people, only seven ended up finishing the training, and I'm really proud to be one of them. Now I can operate four different electric locomotives.
Why do you think there are so few female train drivers?
Some tasks, like coupling, take a lot of physical strength. I got a few laughs from my colleagues in training when I couldn't do it straightaway. But they teach you techniques that help you get it done.
What do you think makes a good train driver?
What's most important is willingness to learn. That helps you get to grips with the electric locomotives quickly, even if you're not a techie. You just need to be willing to learn. And I think women in particular shouldn't be put off by the technical aspects.
How do others react when you tell them about your work?
My friends admire me taking the training and seeing it through. I especially get positive feedback from men since it was a dream job for most of them as kids. People at work are surprised sometimes when they see a woman show up. But the reactions have always been good.
How does your current job differ from what you did before?
I wanted a job with more job security – regular and fair pay – and that's what I got. Now I pay into my pension and don't have to worry about the future. As a train driver, I still have a lot of personal responsibility and have to make decisions on my own, but the rules and organisation make it easier to unwind at home than it was when I worked the markets.
What do you like most about your job? And what's not so good?
Driving such a big machine is a great feeling. That makes it worth getting up at 2 or 3 in the morning sometimes, and then you usually get rewarded with a great sunrise. I also like that you get to follow the change of seasons.