He trained an average of six to eight times a week and was on track to become a professional football player – complete with signed contract – until his plans were thwarted by a serious knee injury. “Luckily, I wasn’t dead focused on football and made sure I had a back-up plan, so I ended up getting my degree,” says the young athlete, who is nothing if not resilient.
Pim, who was born and raised in Zeeland province in 1993, holds a Master’s degree in Supply Chain Management, a course he was able to combine for some time with a professional sports career. “Since I had to attend training sessions every day, I didn’t get the opportunity to study or do an internship abroad, so I spent six months travelling through Asia after graduation. I felt it was a now-or-never kind of opportunity: I was just 23 years old, had worked hard and got a good education, so I knew now was the time to do it. I was about to embark on a serious career, which is not the right time for taking a leave of absence for a couple of months.”
Broekman Logistics: a Rotterdam institution
After returning from Asia, he started sending out applications for his first job. “A lot of my friends live and work in Rotterdam, and if you ask around a little someone will soon drop the name ‘Broekman’ whenever the subject of logistics comes up. This is a fast-moving industry, which appeals to me, and when I learned that Broekman offered traineeships, I didn’t have to think twice and applied right away. One major advantage of this two-year traineeship programme is that you’re given the opportunity to explore what area(s) you would like to pursue. You take on four different projects over a two-year period, during which you get to discover the various Broekman divisions, which is perfect in terms of your personal and professional development.”
Plenty of opportunities at Broekman Logistics
His first job was at the Broekman Breakbulk Terminal (Distriport). “But I soon transferred to Broekman Logistics Breda (currently Tilburg), where we’re involved in Warehousing and Distribution. When I transferred again after seven months, to Warehousing & Distribution in Europport, things really began to take off. Even though I hadn’t even completed my traineeship yet, I was offered a management position right away. If Broekman has confidence in you, things tend to go pretty fast! Given my young age, it’s great that the company has placed such trust in me: it’s a unique opportunity to learn a lot in a short space of time. I can tell you that there’s no better training than on-the-job training.”
Flat organisation with a focus on people
“Broekman Logistics is involved in virtually all aspects of the logistics business. In my current position as a Warehouse Manager, I’m responsible for ensuring that logistics operations are efficiently and successfully managed at three sites: Europoort, Spijkenisse and Maasvlakte, which contain a total of 80,000 square metres of storage space for hazardous and non-hazardous materials. The fact that the field is so multifaceted makes it all very educational and interesting. Although Broekman Logistics is a large international company, it has a flat, non-hierarchical organisational structure, and the employees have that no-nonsense attitude that is typical of people from Rotterdam. Operational staff and management all mix together: it’s all very relaxed and informal, and people are easily accessible. It’s one of the qualities that make us so strong as a company.”
Focus on personal development and growth
Pim also recently joined the company’s one-year Young Potential Program. “We get together once every two months to analyse, discuss and present real-life business cases. You receive professional training and coaching and have the opportunity to learn from your peers, as well as from colleagues in other divisions and departments, and you get to design your own personal development plan. It certainly gives you lots of opportunities for growth.”
Drinks receptions, boot camps and dodgy Christmas jumpers
Pim Francke has teamed up with fellow Young Potentials Tomas van der Maarel and Dennis van de Moosdijk to coordinate the social activities of Jong Broekman, the company’s association for younger employees. “We regularly organise fun ‘extracurricular’ social events such as drinks receptions and boot camps for employees under 35 and anyone who’s young at heart. At the end of 2017, when I had only just joined Broekman, I took over as organiser.”
The first high-profile event we organised was a drinks party where everyone had to wear dodgy Christmas jumpers. “Since then, we’ve hosted many other fun activities that keep attracting more people. These events are not only fun, but also good in terms of promoting interaction between the various departments. It’s important to engage in activities together outside the workplace, because you get to know each other in a different way. You can create the right balance by working hard and relaxing from time to time. Broekman offers so many opportunities that I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my career.”
Do you want to start your career with a Management Development Traineeship, just like Pim?
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