Bosch is preparing its skilled workers for the demands of the connected working world and is expanding its development program for skilled workers in Germany to do so. In the future, the supplier of technology and services will train associates without a college degree to take on positions in IT and commercial fields that normally require higher education. Since 1999, Bosch has been offering skilled workers in technical professions a two-year development program that gives them the opportunity to take on responsibilities similar to those of an engineer. The expansion aims to meet the growing demand for software expertise and prepare associates for jobs in connected production, also known as Industry 4.0, among other things. Some 80 skilled workers, including ten women, are participating in this year’s class. Around 700 participants have completed the program since it began.
Skilled people for the connected working world
“The increasing level of connectivity in our plants calls for highly trained skilled workers, because their tasks are growing more and more challenging,” ChristophKübel, member of the board of management and director of industrial relations at Robert Bosch GmbH, told the roughly 90 graduates of the program obtaining their certification this year in Gerlingen, near Stuttgart. “Our associates’ willingness to keep learning throughout their lives is a competitive advantage for us. That is why we as an employer are focusing on competence management that provides the necessary knowledge and skills.” Kübel announced that Bosch intends to invest more than 200 million euros worldwide in its associates’ training this year.
Back to school – with a busy life
A mix of online seminars, classroom learning, and group study projects are planned to allow participants to complete training while they work. As a result, certain courses can be completed from a home computer. “It was both a career opportunity and a challenging time for me,” Mario Löhrlein, a mechatronics engineer at the Bosch plant in Bamberg, recalled at the graduation ceremony. “Juggling a career, a private life, and training at the same time, all while spending time abroad, was a real challenge. But my family and my supervisor lent me their full support.” The 30-year-old entered the development program in 2013. During his training, he had the opportunity to spend six months helping oversee a production start-up at the Bosch plant in Wuxi, China.
50 days of training call for dedication
The training program, which will be known in the future as the “Skilled workers development program,” is aimed at associates without a college degree who have good professional qualifications and are interested in comprehensive professional development. “The training program lasts around two years and consists of 50 days of training,” says Siegfried Czock, who is responsible for occupational and further training at Bosch. “The participants spend 20 days of this time when they are off the job, such as at weekend seminars.” According to Czock, the program seeks to teach specialist and conceptual skills (including quality and process management as well as work methods) plus interdisciplinary knowledge of methods and social skills (such as project management, facilitation, and foreign languages). At the end of the program, the participants write a report on topics such as process optimization, error analysis, or energy management.
Consistent global competence management ensures quality standards
At Bosch, global competence management ensures that associates participate in ongoing training according to consistent quality standards. A Bosch Training Center with six locations worldwide teaches skills and knowledge following proactive analysis of participants’ needs. Bosch has many years of experience in the field of connected manufacturing and is able to draw on expertise as both a leading supplier and a leading exponent. Czock sees that as an advantage: “We also put this know-how to use in the skilled workers development program to give our associates the best possible preparation for their future jobs.”