Audi Brussels is becoming a pioneer in combining theoretical and practical training in Belgium
Since September 2012, Audi Brussels has been conducting a pilot project alternating training on-site and education in vocational schools, based on the model of Germany’s proven dual training system. A total of 27 students have already begun training as plant technicians. There are no fewer than 600 hours of immersion in the company, distributed over six weeks of work placement and three weeks of training, either in the robotics and laser training centre of the Brussels Audi site or in the production lines.
This project is designed to give students an opportunity to acquire more practical experience during their training. A further project goal is to get more young people interested in technical apprenticeships in Belgium.
The automobile manufacturer expressed satisfaction with the experiment so far. Ultimately, Brussels Audi hopes that some of these young people will join its ranks when the factory recruits employees with technical profiles.
In Germany, Audi trains 700 young people per year this way. Although Belgium has long had a negative view of alternating training, this system is slowly beginning to gain ground. In the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the Ministry of Compulsory Education lists about 10 ‘company immersion’ projects. Three projects were launched in 2012 in Liège and Charleroi; others are still in an experimental phase.
However, obstacles remain: ‘In Belgium, education does not have well-developed connections with business’, points out the Ministry of Compulsory Education. ‘Now we are aware of this delay. But for this system to develop, companies also need to take on mentoring functions.’