Vocational training at Volkswagen has a firm foundation for the future but will continue to change considerably over the next few years. This is the conclusion of the first “Future Training Forum” for all plants which has now been held in Wolfsburg. The main focus of the conference was on best-practice examples as well as discussions concerning future topics such as digitalization and networking, present and future learning environments, the role of instructors and the new skills of apprentices.
Volkswagen Board Member for Human Resources Gunnar Kilian says: “Volkswagen offers first-class vocational training. To ensure that this remains the case in the future, we are orienting our training towards future requirements at an early stage. People who successfully complete their training with Volkswagen must be sure that they are extremely well-prepared for their professional future. This is also in the interests of the company. We want employees with top-class skills who are team players. They must be able to act under their own responsibility and be motivated and capable to carry on with training on a continuous basis when they have completed their apprenticeships.”
Works Council Chairman Bernd Osterloh emphasizes: “Good training is a firm foundation for secure employment. We want to ensure that this remains the case in the future and that the company assumes this responsibility. Training must therefore not only cover future-oriented topics. It must also be appropriate for the young people concerned because the skills and expectations they bring with them have changed over the past few years. The Future Training Forum has shown that vocational training at Volkswagen is reorienting itself towards these requirements at an early stage.”
Ralph Linde, Head of the Volkswagen Group Academy, explains: “We are renewing vocational training at a rapid pace. Instructors are becoming learning assistants. They are focusing on diversity of methods and digital media and promoting self-determined learning. At the same time, our apprentices are using their media competence, for example producing learning media themselves in projects, and are contributing their know-how to the transfer of knowledge.”
Works Council Member Gerardo Scarpino, Chairman of the Training Committee, says: “Digitalization in training is not a theoretical game. On the contrary, it is digitalization that makes training closely oriented towards the current technological topics faced by the departments possible. This means that people moving from training to their departments do not suffer any shock when they are faced by practical requirements. They have been trained in the ideal way and are needed by their teams.”
The participants in the Future Training Forum included Board of Management Members, human resources managers, training experts, Works Council members, young peoples’ representatives and apprentices. The forum is to be repeated each year at a different Volkswagen plant in order to give greater prominence to strategic future topics for training and to foster further development in these areas.
The apprentices also played a special role in the organization of the Future Training Forum. The Young People’s and Apprentices’ Representative Committee had planned and prepared the event together with the Volkswagen Group Academy. During the forum, about 50 apprentices, working together with experts and instructors on various “market stands”, presented and explained on the basis of specific projects how future-oriented vocational training is implemented at Volkswagen. These are just a few examples:
Volkswagen-iPads: During their training, apprentices receive Volkswagen iPads so that they can obtain information independently, process training content and generate new content.
“eKISS” Mobile Maintenance 4.0: on the “eKISS” project, which is now in the pilot phase, apprentices work together with computer specialists on the programming of maintenance apps. During the project, they can participate in the analysis, design, implementation and provision of applications.
Augmented reality goggles: these goggles allow training procedures to be presented in a digitalized way. They can therefore be called up immediately. Apprentices will be able to access information and assistance directly in a targeted way as they are working, which promotes self-teaching skills. This way, trainees will be in a position to adapt their learning behavior individually to conditions at the plant.
Nano-Bug: the objective of this project is to generate a basic understanding of digitalization and Industry 4.0. The project includes the latest technologies. Among other items, the apprentices learn about programming microcontrollers. The objective is to promote understanding of computers as well as independent, creative working.