In this interview with K-MAG, Carsten Kießler, Director of the Institute for Plastics Management (ikuowl), talks about the successes of KungFu, describes how the demand for vocational training in the plastics industry will change and explains how potential apprentices benefit from the project.
What where some of the Kung Fu project's successes?
Carsten Kießler: We wanted to identify several subarea concepts. This included a demand survey to get a baseline as it pertains to Education 4.0 in businesses. It has given us deeper insights: We have many companies that produce sophisticated, high-tech products but take digitization to mean using Excel. On the other hand, there are businesses that have integrated Industry 4.0 technologies into their operations and embrace networked embedded systems. We did not expect these wide variations and differences – we assumed that we were dealing with an evolution rather than a revolution, and that processes and developments would progress in all companies in a similar vein.
We also set up a new, efficient network that works in tandem with the existing networks of educational institutions and companies. We currently receive many inquiries from companies that were involved in the project last year. They approach us and ask for our help in attracting young talent using apprenticeships. We also developed an online digital maturity assessment tool companies can use as a framework to understand how digitally mature their organization is today, and to help build a roadmap for the future.
Most recently, we have developed teaching modules for the Cyber-Physical Factory of the so-called Lernfabrik Lippe 4.0 (English: learning factory). The so-called glOWLamp is created here as a medium of instruction, allowing young people to learn aspects of digitization and their impact on the economy during its production. It is an excellent tool to teach digitization because it enables us to educate students in general education programs.
EXAM is a partial continuation of the original project. What aspects do you focus on?
Kießler: EXAM is an acronym that stands for "External Ausbildungs-Management" (English: External Education Management). EXAM is always a cross-sectional target for JobStarter projects. That means, no matter what topic a project explores, external education management is always meant to be an integral part. EXAM is especially intended to support companies that do not have a formal human resources or marketing department to attract prospective apprentices. This includes apprentice recruitment at career fairs, contacting schools, job advertising, approaching and screening potential candidates.
We also team up with the so-called Erfahrungsraum.MINT here at the zdi-Zentrum Lippe. The zdi student lab allows us to conduct four-hour workshops during which we highlight career profiles such as process technician for plastics and rubber technology, for example. We illustrate a practical implementation that deep dives into plastics technology. Thanks to us offering companies our participation in this endeavor, we secured multiple apprenticeships.
All these services are an integral part of EXAM. They are apparently in high demand, which means we started a service as part of the project that is ongoing and achieves sustained success.