ODU on digital opportunities

How might vocational training look in 2030? What kind of innovations will be ushered in by digitisation and Industry 4.0? These questions were in focus for five ODU apprentices, each with different training occupations, who took part in a German ‘Digital Youngsters’ competition organised by the Worldskills Germany association. They were tasked with developing a training concept while considering both future developments in the field of education and the future viability of various teaching and learning methods. The core topics of communication, internationalisation, process and product understanding, initiative and teamwork played an important role in the project.

ODU/Otto Dunkel is an international company with production, logistics and sales locations all over the world. The staff at its headquarters in Mühldorf am Inn, Germany, are in daily contact with their colleagues worldwide. The Group also establishes and interconnects manufacturing processes globally in order to create and exploit synergies. This ensures that its high quality standards can be transferred throughout the ODU Group – not only in terms of production, but also – and above all – with regard to the expertise of ODU’s employees. Against this background, ODU has already started cultivating the next generation of its workforce. In Mühldorf, the company trains around 35 new junior employees in twelve occupations each year. ODU also trains its own talent at its production locations in Sibiu, Romania and Shanghai, China.

For the Digital Youngsters, the production environments of the future will involve even more interaction with machines – robots controlled by tablets or VR/AR goggles will carry out their work regardless of the time and place, while employees will take on the role of operator or controller and instructors will act as coaches for the company’s trainees.

The ODU project team was given the opportunity to outline its vision and create a possible roadmap for the future alongside renowned companies such as Audi AG, Heraeus Holding GmbH and Brandt Zwieback GmbH, which also took part in the competition. Unfortunately, the ODU team did not make it into the final, however some of its ideas have been incorporated into the ODU training concept. For example, a knowledge database to which all trainees have access has been installed and an ‘apprentice company’ established to enable a better understanding of the certain processes.

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