International Vocational Education & Training
Deutsch English
Change to Desktop view

Mechatronics technician for vehicle technology in Changzhou based on the 5 + 1 model

The education campus of the Chamber of Crafts of South Thuringia BTZ Rohr is in the international has been very active in vocational education and training work since its foundation 30 years ago.

Initially, this work focused on exchange in the field of ERASMUS. Increasingly, however, other topics also moved into focus, such as the acquisition of skilled workers abroad for South Thuringian companies and integration support for refugees and migrants. Additionally we developed direct education export in the form of advice on systemic, conceptual and operational aspects of VET and services for the purpose of initial and continuing VET.

Since the transfer of education has developed most progressively in recent years, especially in cooperation with China, we would like to present a project from this area. This project is financially supported by the Chinese and therefore does not require any funding from German institutions.

The project is carried out in cooperation with the Changzhou Technician College Jiangsu.

The aim of this cooperation is to provide the Chinese labour market with automotive mechatronics technicians with a high level of professional competence. The project is designed for a total duration of 6 years for the first group of Chinese trainees (2018 – 2023). During the first 5 years, the Chinese project participants will receive theoretical and practical training based on the model of the dual system in China. In addition, they will receive language instruction so that they can take the final examination in German at the end.  In the final year, the project participants will be placed in a training company in Thuringia, where they will complete their training. This is why the model has been given the designation 5 + 1.

Until 2022, our trainers will spend 2 weeks per semester at our Chinese cooperation partner’s premises in order to ensure the local quality standards of the training, to train the trainers on site and to check and ensure the equipment level of the training centres.

Car workshop at the Education campus of the Chamber of Crafts of South Thuringia (BTZ Rohr)  Photo: BTZ Rohr

At the moment, there are three classes at Changzhou College with a total of about 90 students. A fourth class will start next year. As already mentioned, the trainees spend the first five years at Changzhou Technician College, where they receive training based on the German job description before coming to Germany for the final year of training.  In this last year, the Chinese trainees will mainly complete practical training in crafts enterprises in our chamber district in the form of two periods of practical training as well as corresponding preparation for the examination at the BTZ-Rohr training campus. Here, the final examinations are also taken by the examination board of the Chamber of Crafts of South Thuringia and the participants receive a final certificate, similar to the German certificate for motor vehicle mechatronics technicians.

Main entrance of  the Changzhou College Photo: BTZ Rohr

The Chinese participants will receive full technical and organisational support during their time at the BTZ and at the host craft enterprises. During this time, the trainees live in our campus-owned dormitory and are also provided with meals in the cafeteria if desired. Part of the stay in Germany is a cultural programme with excursions to companies and places of interest.

A bird’s eye view of the education campus of the Chamber of Crafts of South Thuringia (BTZ-Rohr)

Why are we involved in development cooperation?
In addition to the economic aspect for our education campus, we see vocational training as an effective instrument against unemployment and shortage of skilled labour as well as an important prerequisite for further economic growth in the partner country China. Despite COVID, a GDP growth rate of 9.2 percent is expected for 2021 compared to 2020. Such growth rates clearly show the immense importance of well-trained and business-oriented skilled workers in the Chinese economy. Dual training in the craft trades, but also in industry of course, is seen as an educational model that can meet this demand. Here we make our contribution through an adapted export of education according to the model of the dual system.

Apprenticeship classroom in Changzhou    Photo: BTZ Rohr

In project development with foreign partners we successfully use the tools and instruments provided by the SCIVET Coordination Unit. They are a good guideline, especially in the first project phases and especially in the joint definition of teaching and examination contents, and form the basis of our international vocational training work. Of course, each concrete project is associated with a learning gain in terms of applicability. Our Chinese cooperation partners in particular usually already have a very clear idea of the project contents and processes that need to be taken into account.

Workshop for electrotechnology        Photo: BTZ Rohr

As the project has a relatively long duration, only at the end it will be possible to evaluate the successes in their entirety. In any case, one important result is that, thanks to the commitment of our trainers and the local partners, we were able to continue the curriculum even without any time of presence in China. Four online tutorials are planned for spring 2021, which will serve to analyse and close the gaps that may have arisen due to the travel restrictions in 2020 and to prepare the intermediate test, which in terms of content corresponds to the first part of the journeyman’s examination, in summer 2021.

Another good result is that a further 30 young people have already registered for a further season of this project, which means that the training as a motor vehicle mechatronics technician at Changzhou Technician College can be regarded as having been introduced on a sustainable basis according to the German dual model.

The program participants in one of the lecture halls in Changzhou       Photo: BTZ Rohr

However, communication with Chinese partners is and remains a constant challenge. There are two main factors that make this more difficult. Firstly, the constant dependence on translators and secondly, the long distances that are not always conducive to a quick solution to problems. At this point, the COVID-related travel restrictions even had a positive effect, because both – we and our Chinese partners – were forced to quickly develop online solutions that enabled effective cooperation without being present. This has improved communication in the project as a whole.

Another problem is learning the German language at a level that allows the completion of the exam in German. This requires constant quality control and we will only be able to evaluate the percentage of students who have achieved this goal at the end of the project. In the long term, the project could establish itself at the Changzhou Technician College Jiangsu and even develop a broad impact in the region from there. Since it is already apparent from further applications for the project that the vocational training cooperation with the college and the Baoding region will be sustainable, we expect closer cooperation in the coming years. Due to the project, train-the-trainer measures will also become increasingly important. In further cooperation it will also be necessary to examine which parts of the project can possibly be designed virtually if limited travel is prescribed or advisable.

What positive effects do we expect from the cooperation with Changzhou?
The training campus of the Chamber of Crafts of South Thuringia BTZ-Rohr is the largest vocational training centre in Germany. At the same time, the Chamber of Crafts of South Thuringia is the second smallest chamber. From this constellation, international vocational training cooperation has not only developed into an important factor in the transfer of knowledge and technology, but naturally also serves to increase the utilisation of the campus. In recent years it has also become apparent that the IBZ and the issue of skills shortages in Germany are increasingly linked. In my opinion as coordinator for several international projects, this synergy will increase in the future, and thus International Vocational Training Cooperation can also help to support companies in the region in their search for qualified skilled workers.

Astrid Friedrich

Coordinator for International Projects

Chamber of Crafts Suedthueringen (HWK Südthüringen)

Ich stimme der Verwendung von Cookies zu. Informationen über Cookies und Ihre Rechte erhalten Sie im Datenschutzhinweis.