Heidelberg and DEG Agree to Cooperate to Encourage Vocational-School Teachers in Emerging Countries

Heidelberg, (PresseBox) - .
- Project aimed at long-term enhancement of training quality
- Print Media Academy and Training Center of the Münster Chamber of Crafts and Skilled Trades provide training in Germany

The Print Media Academy (PMA) of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) and DEG - Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungs-gesellschaft mbH have signed an agreement to encourage vocational-school teachers in the print media industry in emerging countries. The Public Private Partnership of Heidelberg and DEG is set to run for two years and a pilot project will be implemented in India, eastern Turkey, South Africa and the Ukraine.

During this period, ten teachers from each of the countries named will be familiarized with new technologies in the industry and the latest training materials on a four-week intensive course in Germany run by the PMA and the Vocational Training Center of the Münster Chamber of Crafts and Skilled Trades (HBZ). On their return, the teachers will be provided with support over an extended period to ensure long-term communication of the acquired knowledge. The training facilities and teaching staff in the countries will be pre-selected by a commission of representatives from Heidelberg, the PMA and the professional associations of the countries concerned. Heidelberg will provide the funding together with DEG, which is co-financing the project using funds from the Public Private Partnership (PPP) program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Lack of industry know-how in emerging countries
Economic development in emerging countries promises considerable potential for local print companies. The quality of the print results in emerging countries still does not meet international requirements in many cases. The shortfalls in quality are due to the use of outmoded presses, incorrect operation of modern presses and insufficiently trained personnel operating the equipment. Vocational schools play a vital role in training technical personnel to operate printing equipment, but the quality of their training is inadequate. Key reasons for this include the teachers' lack of theoretical knowledge, practical know-how and modern teaching materials and the fact that the training is not geared to current print technologies.

"Heidelberg therefore plans to make a lasting contribution to the development of the print media industry in emerging countries through its Print Media Academy, one of the key training networks in the industry. If the project proves to be a success, we will also extend it to other countries," says Dr. Jürgen Rautert, Director for Engineering and Manufacturing at Heidelberg, outlining the nature of the company's commitment.

Project objective: Train the trainer
The aim of the project is to adapt print training at vocational schools in the four emerging countries India, South Africa, Turkey and Ukraine to the needs of the print industry by initiating a program of further training. To do this, the teaching staff of vocational schools in these countries need to undertake training at the PMA to provide them with the requisite knowledge of the whole production process and to instruct them in modern trends and technologies in the printing industry. Following this, the local schools involved will receive support from Heidelberg employees in implementing and applying the training.

The training facilities and their teaching staff will be selected according to reputation, experience in training print shop employees, a practice-oriented teaching plan based around local print shops, technical equipment, standards of achievement and the students' potential. During a four-week training course, the selected teachers will not only be taught theoretical, practical and didactic principles, but will also learn about modern technologies and trends in the printing industry.

At the Vocational Training Center of the HBZ Münster, the participants will be provided with theoretical and practical training covering the whole production chain (prepress, press and postpress) on equipment technically equivalent to that used in the print shops of the emerging countries. The teaching material also includes modules on occupational safety and handling environmentally hazardous substances. At the PMA, the participants will be taught about the latest trends and technologies in the printing industry.

DEG, which promotes private industry as part of a German cooperation for development, will co-finance the four-week training course for the teaching staff in Germany from PPP funds. Marco Christ, responsible Project Manager at DEG, says: "Public Private Partnership projects are a tried-and-tested tool for long-term development cooperation because they combine economic objectives with development goals. The concept presented by Heidelberg for boosting the training standards of the print media industry in emerging countries impressed us in this respect." With the PPP program, DEG can co-finance companies' investment measures at both the preparation and implementation stage up to the value of Euro 200,000 provided these measures contribute to the partner country's development.

The trainees undertake to pay some of the costs themselves in order to increase motivation, the amount being set individually according to their financial means as agreed with the vocational schools. Once they have passed their final exam, the newly qualified trainees receive a certificate from the HBZ Münster and the PMA. Following targeted further training of the teaching staff, the vocational schools will receive advice and support from their local Heidelberg sales company on how to put the skills they have learned into practice. An alumni network will also be set up to promote exchange of teaching staff among the schools themselves and with the Training Center in Germany.

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG

Die Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG ist mit rund 24.200 Mitarbeitern in mehr als 170 Ländern weltweit führender Lösungsanbieter für die Printmedien-Industrie. Mit Hauptsitz in Heidelberg, Deutschland, bietet das Unternehmen Produkte von der Druckvorstufe über die unterschiedlichsten Druckverfahren bis hin zur Weiterverarbeitung. So entwickelt und fertigt die Heidelberg Gruppe Software, elektronische Prepress-Produkte, Bogenoffset-, Rollenoffset- und digitale Druckmaschinen sowie Weiterverarbeitungssysteme. Das Unternehmen hat bei weitem das größte Service- und Vertriebsnetz der Branche. Mit 18 internationalen Standorten und 250 Vertriebsniederlassungen werden 240.000 Kunden weltweit optimal betreut. Heidelberg generiert seinen Umsatz zu 85 Prozent durch eigene Vertriebsgesellschaften. Im Geschäftsjahr 2002/2003 erreichte Heidelberg einen Umsatz von rund 4,1 Milliarden Euro.

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