From classical mass production to innovative, individualized, high-quality products – that is now the vision of manufacturing industry in China. The key for realizing this goal is optimally trained employees to drive innovation within companies. Workforce training is hence in demand in China like never before. Since 2012 the Training Center for Adhesive Bonding Technology at Fraunhofer IFAM has worked closely with the Shanghai based Shanghai Yifa Bonding Training Center to offer its training courses in the Chinese marketplace.
"We initially thought that our English language training courses would be suitable for Chinese engineers", explains Erik Meiß, Head of the Training Center for Adhesive Bonding Technology at Fraunhofer IFAM. "However, that was not the case. Many of the engineers did not have a good enough grasp of English to effectively follow the courses. However, demand for places rocketed when our training partner in China started offering our Adhesive Bonder, Adhesive Specialist, and Adhesive Engineer courses in Chinese." From 2012 to date more than 2000 participants have successfully been trained in China, with the majority taking Adhesive Bonder and Adhesive Specialist courses. Since 2015 there has been an annual Adhesive Engineer course in Chinese. Part of this course is held in Shanghai and part in Bremen.
Training - made in Germany
"Most of the course participants come from the rail vehicle manufacturing industry", says Buddy Zhang, Head of the Shanghai Yifa Bonding Training Center. Many Chinese manufacturers supply the German rail vehicle manufacturing industry and the latter demands that the production practices of suppliers are in compliance with DIN 6701. Successful completion of the Fraunhofer IFAM training courses fulfills the requirements stipulated in this standard regarding the qualifications of production employees carrying out adhesive bonding work. "In China we are also of the opinion that the German training courses are very close to industrial practice. We can pass on the latest technical know-how from a highly developed industrial nation. That is the difference between us and other Chinese providers who often give much shorter and therefore less comprehensive training courses", explains Buddy Zhang.
China has totally different economic and cultural customs
In addition to the language barrier there is often a lack of knowledge about economic and cultural customs in other countries and this makes exporting training courses tricky: "Business practices in China differ totally from those in Germany", stresses Erik Meiß. "The key is to find the right local people. Establishing a business in China is usually via personal relationships. And this is impossible to do from Germany." Another factor is that a visa application for traveling to Germany is very complicated and can take up to four months. Chinese employees from state run companies also usually only receive a single exit and entry visa and are often only allowed to remain a maximum of 14 days per year in a foreign country. Visiting Germany for a comprehensive course involving several training weeks is thus almost impossible.
For this reason we have had to adapt the planning of the Adhesive Engineer course we give to Chinese participants. The first 6 weeks of the course are held in Shanghai and the participants travel to Bremen in Germany for the last two course weeks and the oral final examination.
"That also makes sense for organizing the DVS examination because the examiners are based here in Germany and it further underlines the value of the training courses", says Erik Meiß in conclusion.