The automotive industry is undergoing the most radical transformation in its history. Everything is changing: laws, technologies, products, processes and customers. To meet these challenges, Audi is focusing on training.
The auto industry is facing enormous revolutions like never before, including everything from electrification to autonomous driving, from digital business models to new customer expectations. Each of these issues has the potential to bring major changes to the industry and require a rapid response from carmakers. Audi, true to its pioneering spirit, is challenging proven structures and functions to create new skills and perspectives for its employees.
"Continuing education enables our employees to competently shape the mobility of tomorrow. We intend to maintain key competencies for Audi’s future fields through upskilling and to continuously build up new competencies through reskilling - a goal we will achieve by providing our employees with targeted learning support", explains Thomas Hasenbank, Head of Recruiting, HR Consulting Center and Audi Academy.
Thomas Hasenbank, Head of Recruiting, HR Consulting Center and Audi Academy.
Building the right competencies means addressing transformation through open dialogue with other disciplines in science, politics, and society, but also with competent partners. Audi can rely on internal training centers and sharing within the Volkswagen Group to transfer know-how and enrich expertise.
But strategic partnerships are also necessary, with institutions such as the Dieter Schwarz Foundation's Education Campus in Heilbronn, the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences, and the Center for Advanced Studies at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW CAS), not to mention the training and qualification courses at the Technical University of Munich and TÜV Süd. But how can cutting-edge training be offered to those who are personally experiencing a technological transition, such as the one taking place from internal combustion engines to electric motors?
This question was the starting point for a diverse advanced training program that the Audi Academy in Neckarsulm developed with the University of Applied Sciences of Ingolstadt in 2020, since it was in Neckarsulm that the dedicated battery development center for Audi's electric vehicles was being launched.
The qualification program started precisely from a detailed analysis of the target functions and key skills required for them: "It is aimed at employees who have no experience with electric drives and the tools and processes involved in them", says Uwe-Wilhelm Heider of the Audi Academy. The basic program takes place at the facilities of the University of Applied Sciences in Ingolstadt and includes nine lectures. To obtain the university certificate "Basics of High Voltage Storage Technology" requires four hours of didactics per week and some periods of self-study.
All employees who begin training by the end of this year will follow a similar course at the Center for Advanced Studies at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Heilbronn. The program comprises eight lectures, with modules such as "Introduction to Electrochemistry" and covers topics like the interaction of components within the modules that make up batteries or even the integration into the regulation of electric drives.
The proximity between the academic facilities and the plants is a great advantage because it allows for the development of customized, in-person programs, even depending on the expertise of each individual participant. The topics covered in the training are selected from an introductory interview and realistic self-assessment by the participants. In this way, a kind of mind map can be created right away. "There is often a need for discussion and participants have to practice that first", continues Heider, who then points out that these consultations are held every three months to check progress and provide feedback.
Another useful tool are the job tandems, which are used to strengthen cooperation in high-voltage battery development in Ingolstadt and ensure the transfer of know-how across sites: in practice it means that Neckarsulm employees learn the most important things about new technologies together with their more experienced colleagues in Ingolstadt.
"It has been apparent for some time now that electric mobility is the future", explains Markus Zimmermann, responsible for modules in plug-in hybrid vehicles in Neckarsulm. Zimmermann divides his time precisely between Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, where he has followed his tailored training and basic program at the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences - a path that has enabled him to significantly increase his expertise. "With the new knowledge I can contribute and design, and to do that you don't need to know everything about batteries; it is more important to know the company, its processes and how the product is developed. In the end what you don't know yet is something you can work on", Zimmermann concludes.
Source: AUDI AG
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