One year after launching its Institute of Technology and Transformation (CITT), Continental has honored the year’s top performers. At a virtual event, Dr. Ariane Reinhart, Executive Board member for Human Relations, and Detlef Scheele, chairman of the German Federal Employment Agency, presented awards to the 16 best performers. The institute was founded in 2019 to give unskilled and semi-skilled employees the opportunity to obtain certified qualifications from the German chambers of industry and commerce (Industrie- und Handelskammer – IHK) as process mechanics for rubber and plastics technology, mechatronics engineers and industrial electricians. In 2020, more than 600 participants at 16 locations attended the training courses.
“In the course of the transformation of the automotive industry, jobs are changing. They are becoming more digital or in some cases being made redundant. Competitiveness and needs-based qualifications are our only chance to retain production-related jobs in Germany. The great commitment and good results of the participants show that the foundation of the CITT was the right step to take,” said Reinhart. “With the institute, we have created a center of expertise for shaping the transformation. We are providing an impetus in further education and training and opening up new opportunities for our employees to maintain their employability.”
Detlef Scheele, chairman of the German Federal Employment Agency, sees the CITT as an “exemplary implementation” of the new legal framework for companies established under labor market policy as part of the Qualification Opportunities Act.
“From our statistics and labor market research, we know that there is no better protection against unemployment than a good vocational education and regular training to hone one’s skills and expertise,” Scheele said. “With the establishment of its own institute and a broad range of courses, Continental is demonstrating how training can be a vital building block in the transformation.”
The training courses started at the end of 2019 with 130 participants at six German locations. The current offering includes modular qualification programs for process mechanics for rubber and plastics technology, mechatronics engineers and industrial electricians, with the aim of obtaining a professional qualification from the IHK. As a preparatory measure, a three-month basic competency course in mathematics and German can be completed. The number of course participants is to be increased from 600 at 16 locations in 2020 to more than 1,000 in 2021. “As part of the close cooperation between Continental and the IHK, training opportunities been created throughout Germany, including professional qualifications. In this way, we are making an effective contribution to maintaining the employability of unskilled and semi-skilled adults,” added Maike Bielfeldt, managing director of the IHK in Hanover.
For the transformation of jobs within the framework of the Transformation 2019–2029 structural program, Continental already devised a comprehensive training initiative for affected employees in 2018. The cornerstone for this is the Continental in Motion program, which the company launched together with employee representatives. Continental in Motion currently comprises three main components: the Continental Institute of Technology and Transformation, a corporate-wide training process and the expansion of the company’s internal job market. “We need to develop prospects in particular for our unskilled and semi-skilled employees, of whom there are around 10,000 in Germany alone. However, this is not possible without a commitment on their part. This means that they must want to pursue further training and also be prepared to invest private time in it,” says Reinhart. “The Qualification Opportunities Act is a very effective and important tool for coping with the industrial transformation in Germany.”
Since 2017, Continental has been offering its unskilled and semi-skilled production employees in Regensburg the opportunity to obtain IHK-certified qualifications sponsored by the German Federal Employment Agency as mechatronics engineers, industrial electricians and specialists in warehouse logistics. In 2020, this offering was supplemented by the technical system planner qualification.
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