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Digitalisation taking vocational training to next level

Youth Special Show at EMO Hannover 2019 reveals how to get trainees and trainers into shape

Digitalisation and networking are key issues facing industry – and will also feature prominently at EMO Hannover 2019, which opens its doors in September. This year's theme is Smart technologies driving tomorrow's production! – the impact of which extends to the vocational training of future metalworking specialists. "Production specialists will have to work much more independently," says Peter Bole, head of the Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering in Bielefeld, describing the required skill set. "They are increasingly called upon to make – and document – their own decisions – for example in process optimisation, quality assurance or preventive maintenance. They have to communicate more because a greater degree of coordination is required, and they have to act independently," Bole continues. All these represent important development tasks for those involved in vocational training: for teachers, trainers and not least for the trainees themselves.

At EMO Hannover 2019 from 16 to 21 September, around 4,000 students and their teachers will once again be given the opportunity to find out about training in the metalworking professions and the related requirements. The young people come from roughly 50 schools within a radius of about 250 kilometres around Hanover: from Lower Saxony, Saxony, Thuringia and in some cases even from Bavaria. They will be visiting the special youth stand (A01) of the Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering in Hall 25. Together with 18 prominent partners (including machine manufacturers, control suppliers, tool and component manufacturers) the Youth Education and Development Foundation uses the example of a complete process chain to demonstrate how a Formula 1 model car can be created from scratch through to production and assembly. The companies include: AutoDesk, Munich; Beckhoff Automation, Verl; Campus Motorsport, Hanover; DMG Mori Academy, Bielefeld; DMT Drehmaschinen, Lörrach; Emco, Hallein ( Austria); Fanuc Deutschland, Neuhausen; Werkzeugfabrik Paul Horn, Tübingen; Dr. Johannes Heidenhain, Traunreut; HorsePower Hannover, Garbsen; Imsimitiy, St. Georgen; Index Werke, Esslingen; Open Mind Technologies, Weßling; Renishaw, Pliezhausen; Schunk, Lauffen/Neckar; Siemens, Erlangen; SolidCAM, Schramberg and Weiler, Emskirchen.

Trainees and trainers facing new challenges

"We have had very good experience with trainees acting as training ambassadors," explains Andre Wilms, North Site Manager of the Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering and responsible for organising the Youth Special Show. "They have also helped us refine our involvement in the trade fair. For example, the process chain for building the Formula 1 model car, which young people always find exciting, has been expanded to include a motorised, remote-controlled Formula 1 car that can race against other groups," continues Wilms.

Besides getting the message across to young people, another important goal of the Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last June, is to support trainers and teachers in putting together training courses which incorporate the latest technological developments. An example of a qualification campaign (conceived for trainers and teachers in North Rhine-Westphalia) will be presented on the Youth Special Stand at EMO Hannover. This shows the processes in the value chain of a smart factory production network. Topics that are becoming more and more important as the result of Industry 4.0 are covered in a highly practice-oriented way in eight modules: process analysis, IT security, smart maintenance, CAx-supported manufacturing, additive production, networked manufacturing systems, intelligent production with CPS, work 4.0: organisation of work processes. "Here at the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences, we think it important to provide the practical knowledge which skilled workers and trainees in particular need for coping with the digital transition. The series of modules offers a very good platform for this, and one to which we are fully committed," says Dr. Benedikt Nolte, IWT Institut e.V., Lemgo, development partner for the qualification campaign.  

"Amidst all the wide-ranging changes in the world of work, modern and flexible vocational training ensures that employees will be able to keep pace with digitalisation in the future," says a convinced Peter Bole. "This will also help companies – including both manufacturers and users of production technology – cope with these changes and even benefit from them. Our aim is to support them in this."