Partnership between Sika China and Australia through the Sika Experience program started out exceptionally well. Three lucky students from each country, China and Australia, were handpicked based on their exceptional study ethics and insights into their anticipated career path. Sika Experience China and Australia was a 10-day program, which was mainly about providing local university students and young professionals the opportunity to merge into the heart of Sika to gain first-hand insight into Sika’s everyday work environment and processes by visiting factories, labs and project sites. The students also experienced practical hands-on product tests and applications to give them some basic awareness of how products are used and tested to achieve and exceed quality and application standards. Most importantly, all students experienced Sika’s commitment to Safety and Quality in all factories and warehouses, to ensure efficiency and high productivity are continually achieved in our normal daily work schedule. The program also provided valuable opportunities for students to see how strong Sika’s reputation is in the market place, by visiting job sites and major customer facilities and observing how integrated our department is in working together to drive and achieve business success.

The first part of the program was our visit to Sika China’s head office in Suzhou, a city located in the southeast of Jiangsu province in eastern China. Later that evening we travelled to Sika Sarnafil China’s head office in Shanghai. The management team of Sika China gave an official welcome presentation to us and we were greeted with a warm welcome from all staff. It was also the first time the Chinese students were introduced to the Australian students, with great anticipation. They bonded very well throughout the introduction process with a realisation that a new friendship had begun between the two cultures.

Exploration of the Sika product range in BU Industry greatly improved the students’ understanding of products available in the market and the prime target markets in China. It was an eye-opener for the students to see a BMW car model showing various uses of Sika’s product range in the car manufacturing process.

Our first-hand visit to Sika China’s production and warehouse facilities broadened everyone’s understanding of the working conditions and environment of the Chinese business culture. It was interesting to witness the presence of a canteen where all of the company employees gather to have lunch. By participating in such a lunch experience with the local Sika employees, the students were able to appreciate the importance of such a company service in facilitating a “family-friendly” work culture.

The students were also exposed to one of Sika Sarnafil’s big roof projects at Hongqiao International Airport that had been completed in 2010 in support of Shanghai Expo. It was a fantastic opportunity for the students to see where the products had been used, especially when they were presented with the roofing system theoretically. This was one of their “unforgettable tours”, according to one of the students, and they were able to compare the serviceability of the membrane in various conditions (Australia compared to China) and to witness the suitability of the membrane for a green roof, the very same product used on top of the Sika Sarnafil Green Roof Building.

Teambuilding on a drizzly day in an ancient Chinese town was exactly the right time and right place for the Australian students to learn about Chinese culture.

Discovering Sydney, Sika style.  The second part of our program was the visit to Sika Australia’s head office in Sydney. It was an intense 3-day program that presented the students with a different focus on the Australian business. Fun field activities provided the students with a different view of how Sika Australia operates in the areas of R&D, Quality and Production. The students were also given the opportunity to understand Sika Australia’s key competencies in sales and marketing through distribution.

The students were presented with an introduction to the Industry and Concrete business unit. All students participated in a hands-on experience on how to apply and understand the features and benefits of the products. Another interesting event on that day was a site visit to one of Sika Australia’s major customers in the concrete business. It was an eye-opening experience for all, especially for the Chinese students, who hadn’t seen site facilities that mix colour admixtures through the huge concrete mixtures both on the site and in the mobile truck cement mixers.

Site visits continued throughout the program. The second time around, the students witnessed a new waterproofing product being applied to the rooftop of a local council building. The students were exposed to building site conditions and witnessed first-hand how applicators used Sika products. One of the students blogged…“I believe such a site visit today greatly broadened my understanding of waterproofing measures utilised on rooftops.”

Because of the diversity of the Australian market it was important for the students to experience and witness the distribution business. The students were particularly interested by how big the DIY market was in Australia and they were very impressed by Bunnings Warehouse, one of the major retail outlets they visited on that day. The Bunnings experience provided the students with a wide exposure to the retail environment and the diversity of the products available on the market. The students grasped the importance of how Sika Australia markets their products in such competitive environment.

Only through collaboration and partnership between the two countries could Sika China and Australia make this program a successful experience for the winning students, particularly to help them gain significant knowledge of how Sika operates independently in two different countries and, most importantly for the students, to develop long-lasting friendships with fantastic people from across the world.

“Participating in such a Sika program has been a thrilling experience, and we would like to thank all the organisers and management teams for allowing such a program to take place.” Students: Mohammedreza Hassani Esgandani, Amin Noushini, Abraham Khoury, Yin Bo, Niu Lin and Yuan Jing.