The technical schools are seeing ever greater success among their middle school graduates. Volkswagen Poznań has been supporting the development of this type of education for many years. This year the Poznań plant is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its cooperation in this respect with School Collective No. 1 in Swarzędz. The company supports the development of young students in the four classes it sponsors, each of which has a different professional profile. In cooperation with the company, the school trains students in following trades: mechatronic assembler (since 2005), passenger car electromechanic (since 2011), foundry machines and equipment operator, and industrial automation and precision equipment mechanic (both since 2012).
The programme of education is spread over 3 years, during which students gain both theoretical and practical knowledge. Theoretical classes are held 3 days per week, while the remaining 2 days are devoted to practical work. In the first year, knowledge is imparted in school workshops, while in further years, depending on the trade – in workshops and in the production areas of the factory in Poznań, in the service bays of VW car dealerships, and in the workshops of School Collective No. 1 in Swarzędz. In addition, also depending on their specialisation, at each stage of their education students go through month-long professional internships in various areas of the company’s production, where they have the chance to check their knowledge and skills under the watchful eye of experienced staff, and to familiarise themselves with state-of-the-art production processes. At the end of their studies, students sit the Polish professional examination under the procedures of the Central Examination Commission, as well as a German exam before the AHK Polish-German Chamber of Commerce, which can result in a certificate entitling the bearer to work professionally in many countries of the European Union.
“Such a comprehensive model of education brings measurable effects – both for students and the company. Students have the opportunity to gain unique experience in their trade and a very good education. Whereas we, as an employer, profit by having access to this great group of people – who are young, but already have a lot of practical knowledge and considerable professional experience,” said Jolanta Musielak, Member of the Management Board of Volkswagen Poznań for Personnel, at a press conference.
Her words are confirmed by Tomasz Dziedzic, an employee at the Pilot Production Department of Volkswagen Poznań, and a former student of a class under Volkswagen’s patronage: “Today, looking back, I can honestly say that by choosing professional development run by Volkswagen Poznań, I hit the bull’s eye. Thanks to the good practical preparation and organisation of the lessons, I absorbed a lot of professional knowledge, thanks to which I had a much easier start at work. It’s an ideal base of skills and knowledge which I can now draw on both at work and in my further education.”
To date, the school and Volkswagen Poznań can boast of having jointly prepared 226 graduates of one of the 4 sponsored classes. “Among those 226, 207 have been hired by us, which means we’ve hired 92% of the graduates. I can say that in fact we’ve hired 100% of the students who met our criteria in terms of the marks they obtained, exams passed or skills acquired,” summarises Jolanta Musielak.
The company plans to continue playing an active role in the area of professional development. In Białężyce near Września, a new Volkswagen factory is under construction, and there, in the second half of next year, the new version of the Volkswagen Crafter will be manufactured. 3,000 people are to find employment there. “For a long time now we’ve undertaken a lot of activities with this investment and the future functioning of our plants in mind. Among which, we’re talking with schools in Września about cooperating on professional development. It’s too early yet to give any details, but I can say that, starting from the next school year, we’d like to create a class under our patronage in the Technical Schools Collective in Września. Our target is to start up 3 completely new training streams – precision mechanic, a trade designated for the paint shop area, and a trade related to car body work and sheet metal construction,” Jolanta Musielak adds.
On 19 September on the grounds of the Poznań plant, a gala ceremony will be held to inaugurate the commencement of another school year for almost 80 new students. This will also be an excellent opportunity to summarise the ten years of cooperation on professional development between the Volkswagen Poznań factory and Schools Collective No. 1 in Swarzędz. Among the guests who have already confirmed their attendance are Rolf Nikel, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Poland, Michael Kern, Director General of the AHK Polish-German Chamber of Commerce, and Jan Grabkowski, Poznań Country Administrator.