Bielefeld, Frankfurt am Main, 16 December 2013. – “Your opportunity in mechanical engineering” is the new motto of the Special Show for Young People at the METAV 2014. From 11 to 15 March 2014, the VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung (the VDW’s Youth Training Foundation) is inviting more than 3,000 schoolchildren from North Rhine-Westphalia and about 1,000 vocational college teachers and trainers to the METAV in Düsseldorf. The aim is firstly to enthuse young people for engineering and a technical training course, and secondly, to inform teachers and trainers about the speed of technical innovation in the field of production technology and the resultant consequences for training.
A shortage of qualified staff remains one of the most important issues
For the upcoming year, the German machine tool industry is once again anticipating more orders and better business. This is also being reflected in the workforce numbers: currently there are more than 71,000 men and women working there. The training ratio, at over 8 per cent, is already significantly higher than in the mechanical engineering sector as a whole. Nevertheless, demand remains buoyant, since the machine tool industry is at the forefront of technical advances in the world. If it wants things to stay that way, then properly trained, creative recruits are indispensable.
“Industrial production has long since ceased to be a field in which the employees concerned work in a noisy environment with oil-smeared hands”, says Peter Bole, Director of the VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung. “On the contrary: many production facilities are clean nowadays. They work with high-tech there: always featuring information technology, electronics and sensors”, adds Bole. This has to be convincingly communicated to young people.
That is why the VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung has expanded the Special Show for Young People at the METAV to include an Experience Area. “This focuses primarily on trying out and getting actively involved”, is how Patrick Rauen, Training Coordinator at DMG Mori Seiki Aktiengesellschaft, Bielefeld, a partner of the Special Show for Young People, describes the strategy concerned. His company, for example, will be exhibiting a practice and training system in the shape of a production line that mechatronics trainees built as their final project. “We shall be showcasing this system on the stand of the Special Show for Young People, so as to provide an initial insight into the various career profiles available in metalworking technology.”
The broad array of information provided for young people is complemented by presentations aimed at teachers and trainers, all themed around CNC training. “The pedagogues are multipliers, and this means they’re our most important allies”, explains Peter Bole. “They have to communicate to their students their enjoyment of engineering and the MISE subjects (mathematics, informatics, science, engineering), which are indispensable preconditions for a career in the machine tool industry.”
The sheer speed of innovation in the field of production technology also means that the training provided has to reflect the very latest state of the art. “This is why teachers and trainers themselves also have to continually upgrade their skills. Moreover, modern technical equipment in the schools is essential. And finally, the teaching documents have to be frequently updated”, urges Peter Bole.
The VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung is active in all fields. It skills teachers and trainers, e.g. in the “KiBa – Competence Initiative for Vocational Training”, which is currently up and running as a project in North Rhine-Westphalia. So far, more than 2,900 trainers and teachers have passed through an enormous spectrum of different courses. The VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung provides conceptual support and advice to vocational colleges when they are purchasing new equipment for their technical laboratories. Since it started work, more than half of the 230 vocational colleges, at least, from five different German states that work intensively together with the VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung have invested in state-of-the-art technology. Finally, the VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung has drawn up teaching documents for trainees and their teachers and trainers in companies and technical vocational colleges, and makes them available in printed form, plus in future on the internet as well, on WIKOM, the knowledge and communication platform.
“We are represented with all these issues at the Special Show for Young People as part of the METAV in Düsseldorf” says Peter Bole from the VDW-Nachwuchsstiftung. “And we are confident that we shall thus once more gain quite a few talented recruits.”