A look behind the scenes: Apprenticeship in the times of Covid-19

And suddenly there was Corona. When the crisis became serious, things had to change. Of course, this also applies to KUKA’s trainees, who had to struggle with questions and fears at first: How can my apprenticeship function without personal contact and support? What happens when the vocational school is closed? How will the crisis affect my apprenticeship?

What seemed unimaginable at the first moment is now almost normal. Thanks to the digital possibilities, nothing stands in the way of training in a home office. Via Microsoft teams, trainees exchange information with their specialist trainers on a daily basis and work together on tasks and projects.

New ways of working – new challenges in everyday life

The response to the new digital workplace is predominantly positive. Of course, not all trainees are able to work in a home office. Many are still working on the plants. This was a great challenge at the beginning, while complying with the new regulations. Keeping a distance of 1.5 meters, wearing gloves and masks in a confined space is not easy to realize for a whole working day.

“Keeping a distance of 1.5 meters is not always so easy to implement in the stations, because sometimes you have to assemble something in pairs and therefore work directly with your colleague,” explains Nicole Witting, a first-year industrial mechanic trainee. But this is what the new daily routine in assembly looks like. Where distance is difficult, protective masks and other aids protect the employees.

Digital semester, video conferencing and online courses

The vocational school also suspended its activities as a result of the Corona pandemic. Important dates such as intermediate examinations were cancelled, and final examinations were postponed. School assignments were made available online or via apps and had to be completed independently at home. In some cases, students also communicated with teachers via video conferencing.

For KUKA’s dual students, this meant a digital summer semester, just like for all other students in Germany: online lectures, weekly video conferences with professors and a lot of independent learning. Meanwhile, communication with the instructor at KUKA became more intensive. Every two weeks there was a Microsoft team meeting for all dual students. Here all news, problems and concerns were discussed.

Committed to the cause

What they all clearly lack is social contact with colleagues, classmates and fellow students. Unfortunately, a phone call cannot replace a walk in the break, a group work or a personal conversation. No matter whether home office, online lectures or working on the system under strict hygienic conditions, the desire for a normal everyday life is great.

The crisis requires a high degree of flexibility and discipline, which our trainees demonstrate every day. We are proud of this total commitment and growing cohesion: TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG.

Would you like to find out more about dual studies and apprenticeships at KUKA? You can find information here.

Source Header: Getty Images/ Narongrit Sritana

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