Training facilities for future engineers and technicians
Phoenix Contact • Providing qualification means safeguarding the future
For over 90 years, Phoenix Contact has been active as a medium-sized business in the electronics industry including also an alignment on international activities. The most important products of the company include programmable control systems, automation technology, surge protective devices, interface technology and a comprehensive programme of electrical connection technology.
With Profinet (Process Field Network), a further development of the bus data transfer system, Phoenix Contact has developed a successful protocol for the communication of automation systems in co-operation with Siemens and other leading manufacturers, thereby establishing an internationally unified standard. The company's customers are for the most part businesses in the mechanical engineering, infrastructure systems, water and waste water management technology, renewable energy sources, automotive, energy supply and telecommunication industries. Worldwide, 12,900 employees work for Phoenix Contact at 50 subsidiary companies and 30 branch offices.
As is usual practice in many industries, Phoenix Contact offers its customers training courses in the area of those technologies that the company develops and sells. A separate department designs training programme concepts for the individual products and provides training in Germany for employees of the foreign subsidiaries, which in turn provide continuing education for the employees of their customers on site.
Moreover, Phoenix Contact advises and supports technical and vocational colleges as well as universities across the globe. The good co-operation with local providers of education constitutes an important task for all subsidiaries, which has been centrally co-ordinated by the Didactics Department in Germany since 1995.
Following the slogan "He who shares and distributes knowledge increases it", Phoenix Contact established the EduNet international university network in 2007. Today, this network comprises 70 universities from 30 countries as active members, all of which provide education and training in the field of automation technology. These include also universities in Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore. The network's goals are dialogue and knowledge transfer between the participating universities and Phoenix Contact, the promotion of exchange between students and professors and the establishment of modern training systems at the universities for optimising the vocational training and continuing education provision. To this end, Phoenix Contact provides needs-oriented and state-of-the-art training equipment in the form of both hardware and software. All facilities are adapted to the local conditions and requirements in order to achieve the greatest possible acceptance on part of students as well as on part of future employers.
Moreover, the company has been involved in the development of teaching and learning materials, in the introduction of internationally recognised standards for qualification modules in the field of automation engineering and in the initiation of national and international research projects. The universities receive also invitations to two-week train-the-trainer programmes hosted in Bad Pyrmont in Germany. Each year, Phoenix Contact organises and hosts a conference for the network members – alternating the venue between Europe and Asia. This conference serves as a platform for professional exchange regarding technological innovations and trends. In their respective countries, the universities can also draw on advice provided by domestic contact persons acting on behalf of Phoenix Contact. Per year, some 7,000 students benefit from the EduNet provision; a total of about 25,000 students have received training so far.
Yet the training programmes and manufacturer knowledge provided by Phoenix Contact is available not only for future engineers, but also for skilled trade workers, technicians and master craftspersons. This underscores the company's conviction that a qualified skilled labour force must be well trained at all levels. In co-operation with national educational institutions, so-called Technology Skill Centres are being created and furnished to provide intensive and practice-oriented basic and specialised vocational education and training. In Singapore, Phoenix Contact co-operates with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), which was established in 1992 by the national education ministry as an educational institution of post-secondary education. On the new and highly modern campus, Phoenix Contact has set up a facility for providing basic qualification in the field of installation engineering. So far, some 400 training course participants have benefited from this training facility.
For the future Phoenix Contact plans to convert its present international activities in the field of vocational training and continuing education into a standardised model. The activities and training programme formats will be offered at all branch offices of the company in a uniform manner.
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.