The story of Pedro Pancorbo Parras is all about the courage of a young Spaniard who took his fate into his own hands. Three years ago, he left his homeland of Andalusia in the south of Spain and moved to Hannover in order to train as a sales clerk for insurance and finance at Talanx. The Spaniard is now 25 years old and he has passed all his exams and has been hired by HDI Global SE in Barcelona.
Not so long ago, Pedro Pancorbo Parras was looking at a very uncertain future. He had completed a training in finance and passed his exams with distinction in Spain. He was then all ready to start his career but he was unable to find a job. Youth unemployment in Spain is higher than in virtually any other country in Europe. When Pedro Pancorbo Parras left his home country, it stood at 49.6 percent. Any vacant positions are mostly limited to a few months, and some of them only last for weeks or even days. Many young Spaniards move from one short-term job to the next. This was not a basis on which Pedro Pancorbo Parras wanted to build his future. “I was looking for an opening, and I found an opportunity in Germany.”
“I was looking for an opening, and I found an opportunity in Germany.”
Pedro Pancorbo Parras
HDI Global SE
To be precise, in a sponsored programme run by German industry that enables young Spaniards to go through a training course in German companies. And these companies are desperately looking for specialist staff. Pedro Pancorbo Parras did not need very long to think about this and applied. He got on a bus to Madrid, rented a small apartment there and attended a German language course for four months. He learnt vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar for many hours a day. And German grammar certainly doesn’t have the reputation of being easy to understand. “Learning German is very difficult, but you can do it if you work hard,” he said.
In June 2015, he went to Hannover with lots of vocabulary in his backpack and initially started a six-week internship at Talanx International AG in the section Business Development Latin America/Asia. At the beginning of September, he started his training as a sales clerk for insurance and finance. He was able to get over the fact that this was his second training course within the space of just a few years. This is because the training in Germany has a distinct advantage compared with its counterpart in Spain. The curriculum promises regular movement between theory at a vocational college and the practical phases in different departments. Conversely, courses in Spain teach everything on paper and you only set foot in a company when you have completed your training.
Pedro Pancorbo Parras liked all the different placements at Talanx, particularly in the international departments at HDI Global SE, but at first he found the theory difficult. After all, he had to learn all the specialist terms from the world of insurance afresh, now in German – no language course in Spain could have prepared him for this. “At the beginning, my grades were very poor. That was tough for me because I was actually used to getting good results.” Two other apprentices gave him some extra tuition and explained everything to him that he didn’t understand. He has now completed his training.
The fact that he now works at HDI Global SE in Barcelona is a real “stroke of luck” in his view. Towards the end of his training, he plucked up courage and sent his curriculum vitae off to Madrid. Just a day later, the phone rang and Pilar Ferrer, Head of Human Resources at HDI Global SE in Spain, was on the line. She wondered whether he might be in Spain soon? As it happened he was just vacationing in his home country. They agreed to meet for a brief get-to-know session. The conversation went very well. Pedro Pancorbo Parras had a good feeling, he politely said goodbye but didn’t expect anything concrete. Two hours later his mobile phone rang again and now the head of the branch office, Juan Aznar, wanted to talk to him. He said that there was a job as a junior underwriter vacant in the Property Department in Barcelona. Was this a position that he might be interested in?
Pedro Pancorbo Parras had actually planned to remain in Germany for at least five years. “But when I got the opportunity to return to Spain and still remain in the Group, I had the same thoughts as in 2015: What a fantastic opportunity. I just have to accept this offer.”