The advancing digital transformation at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) also places high demands on vocational training at the company. To make it easier to shape technological and social change, Heidelberg has opened a Future Workshop for apprentices at its Wiesloch-Walldorf site with the aim of introducing them to its corporate digitization strategy from day one.
There, they will be familiarized early on with how the latest digital working methods are used, such as augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) and utility films. Trainee mechatronics engineers can use VR tools to inspect the insides of a printing press, for example.
A special set of VR goggles enables them to navigate around a virtual environment simulating assembly, maintenance, and repair work. This makes the product transparent and more easily understandable for apprentices.
“We are getting our young recruits fit to face the challenges of the digital future,” says Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer about the launch of the Future Workshop. “We are investing heavily in cutting-edge training methods. After all, we need motivated and dynamic workers adept in state-of-the-art digital technologies to drive forward digital transformation at Heidelberg.”
In the Future Workshop, apprentices also use these methods to assemble products for startups – such as Apium, a supplier of 3D printers based in Karlsruhe, for whom Heidelberg is providing development and production capacity at the Wiesloch-Walldorf site as part of its high-tech campus concept.
“Our aim is to develop employees with sustainable skills who are open and courageous enough to embrace new concepts, particularly in a culture that is highly dynamic and constantly changing, as well as being keen to assume responsibility and make decisions,” says Rainer Haus, who is in charge of the company’s training in Germany. “At the same time, we are making our training program even more appealing and interesting to digital natives in what might otherwise be considered a ‘conventional’ sector,” adds Prof. Rupert Felder, Head of Human Resources at Heidelberg.