The digital transformation has arrived in mechanical and plant engineering. However, the associated dynamics repeatedly present companies with the challenge of recognizing and successfully exploiting existing digitization potential. Companies that rise to this challenge can make sustainable use of the opportunities offered by digitization. In order to close existing knowledge gaps in the context of digitization and to secure the need for qualified skilled workers in companies, the Nachwuchsstiftung Maschinenbau has initiated the additional qualification “Digital Manufacturing Processes” for technical apprenticeships – initially only in NRW. For companies, this additional qualification offers the opportunity to secure an important transfer of knowledge and position themselves as an attractive employer on the training market.
In order to present the offer of the additional qualification “Digital Manufacturing Processes” to the North Rhine-Westphalian mechanical engineering and production technology sector, ProduktionNRW organized a virtual exchange of experiences on November 23, 2022.
Additional qualification “Digital Manufacturing Processes” – that’s why the offer is worthwhile
The additional qualification “Digital Manufacturing Processes” addresses these challenges: Attracting ambitious trainees through additional offers and individual support, differentiation in competition, and the design of modern and innovative training. The qualification comprises eight modules, including topics such as IT security, additive manufacturing and networked manufacturing systems, and consists of 220 teaching units (including exam preparation). The final IHK examination comprises a written and practical assessment. At present, the additional qualification is only implemented in NRW by qualified vocational colleges and covers several technical training occupations, such as machining mechanic, technical product designer or mechatronics technician.
Practical report and exchange of experience
Marko Jansen, trainer for electrical engineering/automation at Lumileds Germany GmbH, then presented the additional qualification “Digital Manufacturing Processes” from a company perspective. Lumileds Germany GmbH has been offering this qualification to selected apprentices since 2020: Two out of four ambitious trainees are allowed to take advantage of the additional offer per training year. Since 2020, a total of six trainees have completed the additional qualification or are in the process of doing so. Unlike at other companies, the young employees are released from work to take part in the continuing education program at the vocational colleges and can continue their education during regular working hours. Overall, the trainees’ experience with the additional qualification offered at the vocational college has been positive.
In the concluding discussion, the challenges in the cooperation with the individual vocational colleges and the chambers of industry and commerce were highlighted in particular, such as the additional teaching units in the evenings or the use of different software applications in vocational colleges and companies. Depending on the training occupation and vocational college, however, certain modules can be credited toward the additional qualification, for example, which can reduce the additional workload. After all, the core objective should be to be able to offer up-to-date training – the additional qualification “Digital Manufacturing Processes” can be an important building block.
This event was organized by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network of mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is carried out by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform to connect, inform and market companies, institutions and networks among each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).