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Into the future with new knowledge 

 

MAN has launched a qualifications offensive to make the workforce fit for the technologies of tomorrow. Many colleagues have already actively taken advantage of this opportunity.

Ulrike Lachheb was looking for a new challenge. A test engineer, she had been working for MAN in Munich since 2013, having previously completed a dual study programme in Nuremberg, but now she wanted to broaden her professional horizons. So two years ago, she began studying alongside her job for a master’s degree in electromobility and vehicle electrification at the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt. 20 days per term, always full days on Fridays and Saturdays. It was organised under the umbrella of REQualifying Engineering, an initiative for demand-based qualifications for the research and development team. This initiative highlights career change opportunities, creates new training offerings focusing on future technologies and communicates information on job vacancies.

Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.

Stephen Hawking
British theoretical physicist (1942–2018)  

Studying new drive technology was a challenge, but also a lot of fun: “I had to study in my free time, but I definitely don’t regret it. It was a very well organised course in every respect that opened my eyes to other departments in the context of my master’s studies,” explains the 33-year-old, who lives with her family of four in the greater Munich area. The way she works has scarcely changed - but the drivetrain she works with certainly has: “We apply the start-up and shifting strategy for different drivetrain configurations in any application, for example for long-distance and construction vehicles and other special applications,” explained Lachheb.

Test engineer Ulrike Lachheb is sitting in the drivers cab of a truck
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New drivetrain Test engineer Ulrike Lachheb is studying for a master’s degree in electromobility and vehicle electrification alongside her job

Automotive mechatronics engineer Michael Häuser is standing in front of a MAN truck
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Advancing his knowledge Automotive mechatronics engineer Michael Häuser completed a four-month training course in electrics/electronics

MORE LAPTOPS, FEWER TOOLS

Michael Häuser has also embraced change. The qualified automotive mechatronics engineer previously worked as a test mechanic in the bus road testing workshop. He fitted and removed engines, gearboxes and other components and was involved in the installation of measuring equipment for testing and provided vehicle support during trials. Then he was given the opportunity of an almost four-month long training course to provide new knowledge in the field of electrics / electronics - and he jumped at the chance. So did twelve colleagues from various departments. “I’m now working in the electrical pre-development workshop. My duties include fabricating wiring harnesses, troubleshooting faults using diagnostic systems such as MAN-cats or uploading data files,” explains the 30-year-old from Geisenfeld, near Ingolstadt. More laptops, fewer tools - but still just as closely involved with the vehicle.

Ulrike Lachheb and Michael Häuser are just two of many thousands of MAN employees who are already fit for the future of automotive development and production. “We have provided almost 20,000 training courses over the last two years. The number of topics for the future is growing steadily,” says Andreas Herthum. He has been director of the MAN Academy for a year or so now, describing it himself as the company’s “ministry of education”. “The knowledge and skills of our employees are the key to the successful realignment of MAN,” stresses the former buyer from VW. Commitment to the company's own workforce could hardly be clearer. 

Test engineer Ulrike Lachheb is working on a laptop in the garage
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More laptops, fewer tools Ulrike Lachheb and Michael Häuser use modern digital tools in their work

WILLINGNESS AND PASSION ARE IN DEMAND

In Herthum’s opinion, there is no alternative to the transformation into NewMAN: “It's happening already! We can’t, won’t and don’t want to stop it. We have to tailor our employees’ skills to the needs and challenges of the future.” Do I want to just manage and preserve the status quo? Or do I want to shape things and create something new? This, says Herthum, is what we all need to ask ourselves. Digital learning formats will define the future, along with downloadable content. This will demand greater individual responsibility. It's all about the right mindset, a willingness and passion for learning. This is felt by many of our employees, and especially by those taking courses and training with the Academy: “They are really fired up about their subjects,” says Herthum.

MAN Academy head Andreas Herthum (right) and trainer Jens Pfeiffer are standing in front of a motor
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Digitalisation, automation, electrification MAN Academy head Andreas Herthum (right) and trainer Jens Pfeiffer believe these to be the focal points of training

The focus is on the key competences for the digital revolution, automation, electrification and other future technologies. The transfer of knowledge takes two paths: firstly, through continuing education concentrating on expanding, renewing or specialising knowledge. Secondly, with qualifications that focus on reorienting content towards future-proof, sustainable and modern tasks. The offer is essentially open to all MAN employees - integrated into the overriding needs and staff planning requirements of the relevant departments.

LAUNCHING THE NEW TRAINING OFFENSIVE

We will be building on the successful start of the training offensive at MAN in 2022. The Academy is coordinating its programme with the various departments: Engineering, Quality, Procurement, Finance, HR, IT, Production, and Central and International Sales & After Sales. It is also a key partner in the REQualifying Engineering initiative, launched in 2019. This aims to provide demand-based, bespoke and forward-looking qualifications for the engineering and development teams. “Here in Engineering, we keep our employees’ professional development in mind, covering demand for training in future technologies - from basic qualifications to in-service courses,” explains Christine Lutsch, who is responsible for the Engineering department’s training programme.

A central overview and communication of current job vacancies in engineering can be found on the SharePoint portal, in monthly newsletters and at jobs fairs. There could be something there for everyone. Even Ulrike Lachheb? “I’m going to finish my master’s thesis first. But in general, I’m open to further training,” says the engineer.

Michael Häuser analyses faults using diagnostic systems
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Troubleshooting and finding solutions Michael Häuser analyses faults using diagnostic systems such as MAN-cats and takes care of uploading data files

Text   Christian Jeß
Photos   MAN/ Bernhard Huber

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