Hamburg, September 28, 2020. Technology company Continental has launched a professional development offensive to equip its employees with the skills needed in the transformation process toward Industry 4.0. The Continental Institute of Technology and Transformation (CITT) offers unskilled and semi-skilled employees training in stages leading to the nationally recognized vocational qualification of process technician for plastics and rubber technology. To deliver this training, CITT as Continental’s in-house training body has established a number of training hubs nationwide. One of the first hubs is located at the company’s site in Hamburg-Harburg.
This professional development provision to enable unskilled and semi-skilled employees to gain a vocational qualification rounds off the site’s package of employee training and professional development. It supplements measures for integrating long-term unemployed people and providing a foundation vocational placement for young people. Overall, in doing so, Continental’s Hamburg site is making a targeted contribution toward addressing the structural change in the industry, supporting its employees in mastering digitalization and helping provide tomorrow’s skilled employees.
In the CITT’s professional development program, the Hamburg employees will gain the skills and know-how that they will require for more complex activities requiring a higher level of professional qualification, i.e. work that will gradually replace unskilled or physically demanding activities as digitalization and automation increase. “As a result, the colleagues will also extend the range of operations they can perform at the site and improve their prospects in the labor market,” declares Tobias Heilmann, who heads up HR at the Hamburg site.
The qualification is divided into a number of modules, each lasting four to six months. The modular structure offers a high degree of flexibility to take account of individual needs and family circumstances. This provision makes it possible to gain the vocational qualification as a process technician in 24 months – instead of the classic three-year term of an apprenticeship. The training takes place during working hours at the full basic salary and is supported by the Federal Employment Agency under Germany’s Skills Development Opportunities Act. Each module concludes with an exam that is moderated in cooperation with the Hanover Chamber of Commerce. In 2020, more than 500 participants from Continental across Germany will attend such CITT training.
The first 17 employees have already completed the foundation module in Hamburg with good to very good results, and the group moved on to the second module in August. “That is a remarkable achievement. After all, most of them left school many years ago,” declares HR manager Heilmann. The syllabus for the opening module in Hamburg starts with fundamentals: machining, production processes, machine technology and testing. Each participant is provided with an iPad to smooth the digital learning path.
As instructors, CITT is using plant employees who not only completed their apprenticeship at Continental in Hamburg, but also gained their advanced “master” qualification there. As qualified “insiders”, they enjoy the trust of the participants and, in addition to broad-based expertise, they also have many years of practical experience. In September, a second group also began the CITT qualification program. The feedback from the participants is thoroughly positive, and there is growing interest. “To ensure that more colleagues can take advantage of the qualification program and have sufficient space for practical work, we are in the process of setting up a second training workshop,” adds Heilmann.
In this package of support, professional development and qualification, the Hamburg site is proactively positioning itself in respect not only of the working world of tomorrow, but also of the increasing requirements of its customers. “By gaining this qualification, the employees will be able to be used more flexibly at the site. They will consequently be in a position to switch between areas at the site, depending on the order situation, and will therefore foster networking between different units in the company. That will enable people to further broaden their horizons,” summarizes Heilmann.
In addition to the CITT qualification measure, other target groups are also being provided for at Continental’s Hamburg site. “In our vocational training preparation for industrial/technical professions we are also targeting former junior high school students up to the age of 25 who have not found a non-sponsored apprenticeship by the start of the apprenticeship year in September. The young people are supported during a nine-month industrial placement and assessed for their suitability for an apprenticeship in the plant,” explains Heilmann. “Furthermore, the new Participation Opportunities Act offers us the possibility to support older employees and long-term unemployed persons and integrate them for the long term.” The two measures contribute to these people’s personal development, reduce the workload of qualified employees and promote diversity in the company.
World Media Group (WMG) News Service