Continuing education and exchange of experience for welders in Vietnam
Chamber of Crafts Koblenz • Industrial college for welding technology officially recognised in Germany
The Chamber of Crafts Koblenz is responsible for vocational education and training in the crafts. For its approximately 19,500 member businesses, it maintains 14 vocational training centres in the north of the Federal State of Rhineland-Palatinate. Key areas of the vocational training and continuing education provision are the construction and metal-working occupations as well as the food industry.
The Chamber of Crafts Koblenz began its international activities towards the end of the 1980s, first in Bulgaria and the Balkans and starting with projects that were funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Later, other regions such as in Africa and South-East Asia were added. The basic goal was to support the German federal government in its international projects and to advertise German solutions and concepts abroad. In most cases, current international partnerships derive from contacts made in the context of this project-related work.
An important indicator of the success of this international co-operation activity is the number of employees with international experience. Their number has steadily increased due to the activities abroad and by now ranges at about 40 in a total of approximately 300 employees.
The co-operation with the Directorate for Standards and Quality, a main department of the Vietnamese Ministry of Science, began in 1994. In the period between 1995 and 2004, the Chamber of Crafts Koblenz collaborated with its partners in establishing an industrial college for welding technology in Hanoi. This included also comprehensive training programmes for welding technicians and qualified welders at the Chamber of Crafts Koblenz as well as for welding teachers and welding engineers at various industrial colleges and research institutes for welding technology in Germany. Regarding the latter institutions, contacts were facilitated by the Chamber of Crafts Koblenz. The training programmes were funded by different sponsors, first and foremost by the BMZ and the European Union (EU). Subsequently, some continuing education courses were carried out by way of follow-up training, which were likewise funded by the BMZ.
Today, the Chamber of Crafts Koblenz regularly supervises the continuing education courses and experience exchange events for the welding personnel on site. In doing so, it directly co-operates with the "Vietnam-German Technology Transfer and Training Center" (HwC), which was established in the context of the project. The HwC was created as a service institution for small and medium-sized enterprises. The expenses for the deployment of the German chamber of crafts personnel are fully borne by the Vietnamese side.
The HwC is a member in the Deutscher Verband für Schweißen und verwandte Verfahren (DVS – German association for welding and associated procedures) and has been recognised by the DVS as an industrial college for welding – the first of its kind outside Germany. This gives the HwC the authority to train welders according to international guidelines and to issue internationally recognised welder certificates. In this context, foreign industry standards were in part translated into national Vietnamese industry standards. The scope of the HwC's vocational training provision is largely dependent on the country's economic performance. Currently, training courses for welding supervisors are particularly popular. In addition, the HwC advises metal-working businesses and training facilities in Vietnam.
In order to maintain its status, the implementation of quality assurance and continuing education programmes is required; the Chamber of Crafts Koblenz regularly informs the HwC with regards to these issues and provides advice where necessary. The HwC covers the expenses for the required activities in Vietnam and pays the agreed fees to the DVS.
The Chamber of Crafts Koblenz established the first personal contacts to iMOVE many years ago during an event abroad and since that time it has attended several iMOVE seminars and workshops in Germany. Currently, the Chamber of Crafts Koblenz is in the process of developing first concepts for further activities in the vocational education and training provision in Vietnam. In doing so, the income differentials between Germany and Vietnam play a major role, as well as the high price and cost differentials in providing vocational education and training with the necessary practical equipment.
This sucess story was first published in the iMOVE publication Developing Skills for Employability with German Partners • 8 Success Stories from Southeast Asia. The brochure was published in March 2014.