Setting the course for the future

Regardless of whether it's the energy revolution, electromobility or the intelligent networking of buildings, the challenges of making these not just more energy efficient, but - in view of demographic development - also more age appropriate, can only be met with qualified service providers from the electrical skilled trades.

Driven by digitalisation and the energy revolution 

The dynamic development of these sectors and increasing digitalisation prompted the German Central Association of the Electrical and Information Technology Skilled Trades (ZVEH) early on to examine the existing training occupations and to check to what extent content from the new growth sectors can be incorporated within the training. Ultimately, a course needs to be set for ensuring that the electrical skilled trades are sustainably prepared for future developments and have junior staff who are appropriately qualified. 

The analysis of the existing structure revealed that the existing content was too extensive to be incorporated withing the existing training occupations. Furthermore, since the previous amendment of the training regulation in 2007, there has been a significant consolidation of technologies in some areas. Another argument for revision were the trainee figures used by the ZVEH for the assessment. These showed that, despite the welcome continued increase in the numbers of trainees in the electrical skilled trades (2018: plus 4.2 per cent), demand was not at the same level for all training courses. For example, while there was a strong increase in the number of trainees for the occupation of "Electronics technician specialising in energy and building technology", the numbers were falling in the areas of information and systems electronics. And a further trend also needs to be noted - there are increasing numbers of trainees with the higher education or university of applied sciences entry qualification. 

The new training occupations

By revising the training occupations, the association is responding to developments in technology and in the market. In future, there will be just two different specialisms for electronics technicians. These are energy and building technology, and automation and systems technology. The "Electronics technician specialising in energy and building technology" will be maintained, as will the "Electronics technician for machines and drive technology". While proven structures will be maintained, topics from the areas of digitalisation and the energy revolution will be integrated within learning content.

With the training occupation of "Electronics technician for building system integration", the ZVEH is creating a training occupation which takes account of the requirements arising from digitalisation. The future training occupation is therefore the first throughout the entire skilled trades to be created in light of digitalisation.

The "Electronics technician for systems" is being amalgamated with the occupation of "Electronics technician specialising in automation technology" to form the occupation of "Electronics technician specialising in automation and systems technology".

The future training occupation of "Information electronics technician" combines the content from the previous training occupation of "Information electronics technician specialising in equipment and systems technology" and the office systems technology specialism with content from the training occupation of "Electronics technician specialising in information and telecommunications technology".

New training occupation of electronics technician for building systems integration.

The reason for the new training course - which the association wants to use to more firmly establish offers covering all areas of smart building services in craft trade service provision - is the growing demand for qualified skilled workers due to the increasing importance of smart buildings, smart homes, energy management and electromobility. The occupation of "Electronics technician for building system integration" represents a vital link to planners in the areas of smart building technology, and on construction sites is intended to serve as a qualified point of contact covering all trades. The target audience for the new training course therefore includes young people with university or university of applied sciences entrance qualifications, or with experience of degree-level study.

Involvement of other institutions

The revision process involved intensive discussions with federal state craft trade organisations, the social Partner IG Metall as well as the German Central Association of Skilled Trades (ZDH), the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), and the Coordination Office for Further Training and Employment (KWB). Their suggestions were taken on board. With the broad support of these institutions, the application for revision can now be submitted to the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).

If this extensive process moves quickly, the regulation could enter into force for the start of 2021 which would mean that training could be provided under the new structure from the 2021 training year onwards.
The electrical skilled trades are determining their future direction. The digitalisation of society, but also the energy revolution, electromobility and the linking together of systems in the building sector all offer immense opportunities for our businesses. We need to seize these opportunities. This training revision is enabling us as an association to set the course for the future.

Source: (website of the German newspaper Der Teckbote), revised by iMOVE, March 2021