Flow of knowledge

Audi plans to bring dozens of electrified models onto the market by 2025. That requires expertise – which Audi employees acquire through specially tailored training and development programs. A report

07/01/2020 Reading Time: 4 min

eMobility: Audi employees with their trainer
Trainer Rupert Kaindl explains to Audi employees Felix Fornoff and Leon Meka (from right) how the Audi e-tron is disconnected from the battery.

Power consumption, combined*: 24.3–21.4 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26.1–21.7 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Power consumption, combined*: 24.3–21.4 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26.1–21.7 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi e-tron is up on the hydraulic lift with the hood open. But the car is not defective; it is just there for illustrative purposes. And for once, no apprentices or training participants are crowding around the car at one of the training workshops at the Audi Academy in Ingolstadt. Today, trainers Rupert Kaindl and Siegmund Singer are teaching their co-workers from Digitalization of Logistics Processes how to de-energize an electric vehicle – and they have decided to transform the training content into a VR training session.

Individual and virtual learning

Apprentices and participants in professional development courses will later be able to practice the necessary steps on an electric car in virtual reality. “The digital world allows us to save real resources. Not only can we share more knowledge with our employees, we can do so in a very individual way. Digital learning opens up new methods and new content both in training the next generation of employees and in offering experienced employees professional development opportunities,” explains trainer Rupert Kaindl.

Audi trains young people worldwide and provides advancement for employees in all life phases by offering appropriate development and qualification options. But e-mobility is not the only field in which Audi employees have been trained for many years.

With the help of the digital training world, every apprentice and course participant can learn individually.

Rupert Kaindl, trainer at the Audi Academy

Huge demand for qualifications

The Audi Group’s comprehensive range of competence development and qualification programs is bundled at the Audi Academy, where all apprentices, employees and managers can take advantage of them. “With the focus on electric mobility, a new age has dawned for us at the Audi Academy, too,” says Erich Schott, who is responsible for apprenticeships in the area of automotive engineering. “We want to bring Audi employees up to speed with the numerous new activities as quickly as possible.

There is a huge demand for qualifications in the field of e-mobility. Our workforce needs to feel at home in this field quickly,” adds Michael Lobmeier, who heads the professional development program for automotive engineering. Since 2014, more than 450 young men and women have been trained at the Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm locations as automotive mechatronics technicians specializing in system and high-voltage technology. Apprentices who successfully complete a program with this specialization are then qualified as electricians for automotive engineering. After their apprenticeship, they work in various production areas or in one of the workshops at Technical Development or the Pre-Series Center.

While the occupational profile of automotive mechatronics technician specializing in system and high-voltage technology has been established since 2014, an additional qualification is now being introduced in battery technology, which focuses on the production and quality assurance of high-voltage batteries. The first apprentices will be piloting this additional qualification in September 2020. Ultimately, battery technology will be integrated into the apprenticeship as a fixed module.

Experts for electric vehicles at Audi in Ingolstadt (Germany).
Two experts for electric vehicles: trainers Rupert Kaindl (left) and Siegmund Singer.

Power consumption, combined*: 24.3–21.4 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26.1–21.7 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Power consumption, combined*: 24.3–21.4 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26.1–21.7 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Thousands of Audi employees are ready for e-mobility

“Every person learns differently. We always think about the most efficient way to learn.”

Rupert Kaindl, trainer at the Audi Academy

Professional development measures are designed to take into account the previous knowledge of the employees starting the training. The learning content and qualifications are adapted accordingly. Different qualification paths show which qualification is appropriate for the respective employee. The qualifications are bundled and structured so that they build on each other, enabling employees to start their electric mobility qualifications in line with their individual needs. The more advanced their qualifications, the more freedom they have to work on an electric car. In total, employees have access to over 38 qualifications on the subject of e-mobility. For instance, one newly developed program focuses on the production and quality assurance of high-voltage batteries. It qualifies the participant as an electrician for battery technology with an IHK certificate examination.

Rupert Kaindl, 46, has been a trainer for 20 years. He helps develop the content of training and development measures: “Every person learns differently. We always think about the most efficient way to learn. Our main aim is to provide support and advice. With the help of the digital training world, every apprentice and course participant can learn individually.” Audi spends a great deal of money on the training and, above all, the development of its employees. By 2025, the company will make EUR 500 million available for professional development alone. In 2019, the Audi Academy qualified around 8,000 participants worldwide for electric mobility.

500 millions Euro

Audi is also looking to cooperate with external training partners. Together with Ingolstadt University of Applied Science (THI), Audi has designed a professional development program for drive developers. Technical and educational experts from the Four Rings joined forces with THI professors to tailor the in-service qualification to the company’s requirements. Thus Audi engineers are now able to broaden their knowledge in THI’s lecture halls. The aim is to build up further strategic and technical expertise in the field of electric mobility.

Commercial partners are also receiving electric mobility training. Service technicians in more than 40 markets are taking advantage of a specially developed VR training course to familiarize themselves with the details of the high-voltage battery in the Audi e-tron.

There is a huge demand for qualifications in the field of e-mobility.

Erich Schott, Head of Vocational Training in Automotive Engineering

Audi promotes lifelong learning

Training and development play an important role not only in the transition to electric mobility, but also in Audi’s overall transformation. The Audi Academy promotes lifelong learning and prepares employees for future challenges in a targeted manner – from vocational education and dual studies to professional development courses. Audi offers vocational training that enables talented young people to qualify in one of 20 vocations.

A dual course of study gives students the opportunity to combine theoretical studies with in-house practical phases. Under the “Audi dual” program, various study courses are available to prospective students at the Ingolstadt University of Applied Science and the Technical University of Munich, and also through the partnership program with the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University. Those graduating from these courses are guaranteed permanent employment at Audi.

German standards worldwide

Whether electric mobility is addressed in vocational training or professional development courses – Audi’s international locations are always on board. If necessary, the special training and development programs can be adapted to the particular requirements of each country.

Successes of the Sustainability Academy

To improve its sustainability performance even more, Audi founded the Sustainability Academy in 2016. All employees and apprentices can take part in classroom training or digital formats such as web-based training (WBT) on the subject of sustainability. The focus here is on an internal transfer of knowledge – from co-workers for co-workers. Around 900 employees attended training courses at the Sustainability Academy in 2019.

Education counts

In addition, other area-specific qualifications exist throughout the company. For example, there are training courses on topics such as procurement and logistics, or environmental protection and energy efficiency in production. A number of sustainability-related Web-based training courses were also introduced in 2019. These formats are intended to create a common understanding of sustainability and raise awareness among employees.

Developing and nurturing competences

A transformation calls for new key competences, since competence and qualification requirements change fundamentally. The Audi Academy’s qualification programs prepare employees for future challenges.  The courses offered are geared to Audi’s human resources and competence development needs as well as to the future topics of the industry. Audi will invest more than half a billion euros in professional development between now and 2025.

During the year under review, the Audi Group held 20,694 training events worldwide with 1.7 million participant hours. In Germany, where there were 10,866 training events, over 33,000 employees attended one or more qualification courses in 2019.

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