Topic of the month January 2013


Perfect-fit Further Training – The VDI Wissensforum

Technology is advancing in leaps and bounds and it is not just older people who give up in the face of the latest technical achievements. The amount of information available worldwide is growing exponentially – and at the same time knowledge is becoming obsolete at an ever greater pace. Figures are particularly striking when it comes to technical expert knowledge: in the space of just five years half the technical know-how becomes outdated.

Even those at the start of their career realise that continuous education is a crucial factor for ensuring sustained professional success. Pursuing this education may be done at one’s own initiative and at one’s own expense or – especially when specifically for a trade – at the request and expense of the employer.

The importance of further training is also confirmed by the “educating II” survey conducted by the VDI Wissensforum. In this survey almost 95% of those General and HR Managers polled said that further training was firmly established as a strategic aim at their company because it decisively contributed to company success.

It is therefore all the more astonishing to hear that technical specialists and executives obviously do not get sufficient further training. As many as 20% of the CEOs and HR Managers polled in “educating II” stated that there was not enough further training offered within their own firms.

© VDI Wissensforum

Timo Taubitz, CEO of the VDI Wissensforum, finds this hard to accept: “Astonishingly, nearly all General and HR Managers acknowledge the importance of further training – but not all of them act accordingly. Only those “walking their talk” will stay on the ball and will therefore remain competitive.”

Counter demographic change with Further Training

Building tomorrow’s skills today is crucial especially against the backdrop of demographic change. Because this change will clearly have a negative impact both on CEOs and HR Managers: 81.2% expect to encounter difficulties in recruiting young engineers in future – followed by 79.2% who are concerned about the know-how lost through retiring engineers. About half the managers polled (51.4%) see problems with keeping senior engineers. Only 22.4% find it hard to build the skills of already hired engineers.

“If companies view further training as an important tool to retaining skilled staff while fearing problems in recruiting and the brain drain then it is obvious that they should build skills for tomorrow today,” says Taubitz.

Know-how and hands-on expertise thanks to expert Network

As early as 1957 the VDI, German Engineering Association, installed a platform – the VDI Bildungswerk – to provide engineers with access to the latest developments in the technical field. The “Bildungswerk” was the origin of the VDI Wissensforum in 2001, which organised some 1,000 events with more than 25,000 participants, 3,000 speakers and 550 exhibitors only last year. Headquartered in Düsseldorf this organisation has been one of the leading further training specialists for engineers as well as for technical experts and executives for over 50 years now. “At our events we bring together leading experts from business and scientific circles with a view to enabling direct exchange on current innovations and future developments in the technical field,” says CEO Timo Taubitz.

The events organised include seminars, technical forums and in-house seminars as well as technical meetings, congresses and conferences. Modular courses with a certificate such as “Fachingenieur Windenergietechnik VDI” (Specialised Wind Power Engineer VDI) round off the offering. Permanent market research, an extended network of experts and VDI’s thorough know-how ensure the high quality of events that are always at the forefront of the industry and research. Numerous events organised by the VDI Wissensforum have become established meeting points for the sector and a fixture in the industry’s agenda.

In general the VDI Wissensforum covers the entire spectrum of specialist engineering subjects such as development, design or quality. Additionally, the VDI Wissensforum offers events revolving around leadership competences, i.e. on personal, social and methodological skills – always considering the respective technical background. All events are also open to non-members.

© VDI Wissensforum

Tailor-made training sessions for companies

With its In-House Seminars the VDI Wissensforum has developed an event format that is increasingly popular with companies from a wide variety of sectors. These are customised versions of certified seminars where the lecturers teach on site at company premises.

“The companies determine the content, time and location and we develop a seminar or qualification concept that perfectly fits the needs of the company and its employees, with a strong focus on practical application and case studies from the daily working environment,” says Press Spokesman Stefan Karpenstein and adds “Here we often see more avid and open discussions than is the case at public events – where employees from competitors may be among the delegates.”

Due to steady demand this customised offering has resulted in the establishment of an independent department within the VDI Wissensforum, last but not least because it is also attractive in terms of price. These seminars are particularly worthwhile for companies that plan to include several participants in a specific skill-building module because the prices for In-House Seminars are not linked to the number of participants.

Strategic HR Development

With strategically devised HR development programmes the VDI Wissensforum has also positioned itself as a competent ally in the struggle for the “brightest brains”. Commenting on this Press Spokesman Stefan Karpenstein said: “The VDI development programmes are designed as in-house personal development concepts for engineers and technical experts and executives. They allow employers to prepare their employees for technical and leadership tasks in the company and to accompany them on their path. The content is always tuned to the expertise required at the various levels of responsibility where employees currently are.”

The content of the further training modules is coordinated in such a fashion that it systematically conveys the understanding and knowledge for specific functional areas thereby enabling the structured further development of engineers’ relevant cross-technology expertise.

Corresponding feedback and success controls are carried out at regular intervals. “The expert coordinator very closely and intensely cooperates with the management board over the entire period and carries out teaching success controls thereby ensuring that objectives are attained,” Stefan Karpenstein stresses.

Through the close dovetailing of its (predominantly voluntary) lecturers with the industry the VDI Wissensforum guarantees a hands-on approach with great topicality. And in combination with its customised teaching approach the existing knowledge and innovation potential of a business location is managed and constantly developed further so that it does not fall victim to the “half-life” mentioned above.

Frank Lindner

Find more information:
- VDI Wissensforum - Philosophy
- VDI Wissensforum - Inhouse Seminars
- Weiterbildungsmaßnahmen der IHKs - betriebliche Praxis im Mittelpunkt
- Individuelle Bildungsförderung des Bundes
- Thema Weiterbildung auf


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