Digitalisation finds its way into the cockpit

Vehicle interior mechanic: a new training regulation for the automotive industry

Vehicle interiors have fundamentally changed over recent years. Not only must they provide a high degree of comfort, functionality and individuality, but they must also be aesthetically pleasing, fitted with high-quality sustainable materials and have a wide range of technological innovations available. The cockpit is also becoming increasingly digitalised. Key functions such as the display and management of various assistance systems can be controlled on a touch screen or via voice command. 

These technological developments in the vehicle and in vehicle production are among the reasons why the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) has worked on behalf of the Federal Government with the relevant federal ministries as well as social partners and experts from company practice to bring this three-year vocational education and training as vehicle interior fitter up to date. In order to properly reflect the extensive changes, the training occupation is also being given the new title of "vehicle interior mechanic".

Vehicle interior mechanics are responsible for fitting out the entire vehicle interior. They produce and fit vehicle seats, doors and side panels, vehicle roof linings and floor coverings for cars, trucks, buses, railway and tram carriages and for aircraft and ships, both in job and in series production. Computer-aided manufacturing is as much a part of the occupational profile as the monitoring of production processes. Working with assembly plans, electrical circuit diagrams and connection plans as well as setting up machines and systems also make the occupation exciting and varied.

Assembly activities are expanded in the new training regulation, and it redefines training content relating to digitalised products and to work organisation. Equipment parts, for example, are now produced using a 3D printer, and high-tech seats as well as documentation and diagnostic systems are installed. For this reason, there is also the opportunity to complete the additional qualification of "additive production processes" during the training and to sit the relevant examination. 

Aspiring vehicle interior mechanics are trained in particular in automotive businesses which also offer excellent recruitment opportunities. Following the final examination, it is possible, for example, to move on to continuing VET as an industrial master craftsman specialising in vehicle interior fitting, technician training specialising in automotive engineering or even a degree in automotive engineering, vehicle construction or vehicle design.

The updated training regulation and the framework curriculum aligned with this, developed by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs for the school-based section of the dual vocational education and training, will replace the existing regulation of 2003 and enter into force on 1 August 2021. The rewritten standard occupational profile items are also a component of the new training regulation. These describe the new training content which applies to all occupations and relates to the four areas of "Digitalisation",

"Sustainability", "Law" and "Safety". This content is identically formulated and as of 1 August 2021 its use will be compulsory in all updated or newly developed dual training occupations. They have the status of a recommendation in all existing trading occupations.

Source: press release of the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, revised by iMOVE, November 2021