Martorell, 26/09/2017. – The SEAT Apprentice School has reached 60 years of history, and to commemorate the milestone, the company is gathering former students from past years on a day of celebration scheduled for next 30 September. Since it was founded in 1957, more than 2,600 students have graduated and gone on to become professionals in the automotive industry, and the school has established itself as a benchmark of dual vocational training in Spain.
For the occasion, the School has invited all former students to a reunion so they can relive their learning years at the centre and witness what the future of automotive training will be like. The school has equipped several spaces with panels depicting historic moments, including class graduation photographs, vintage newspaper headlines and period instruments and artefacts. The future of automotive training will be shown in an Industry 4.0 space and in the Electric Lab, where students have recently developed an electric car to teach driver education to children.
According to SEAT Vice-president for Human Resources Xavier Ros, “the Apprentice School has become a benchmark institution for SEAT and in dual vocational training. Its ability to adapt to the realities of industry at all times has made it the only corporate School today that has been able to train professionals for six decades”.
Almost all the students who successfully complete their studies join the SEAT workforce with an open-ended contract, and this year, more than 50 graduates have already begun working in the company.
Student developments in the School
In addition to learning in the school’s classrooms and workshops and working in SEAT’s production centres, students also have the opportunity to work on their own developments. A group of last term’s students designed and built an electric car that will be on display during the 60th anniversary celebration, which can easily be replicated and used to teach driver education to children.
The Apprentice School also has a production unit, which is a space where students can develop projects for SEAT that are currently not on the market or work on alternatives to existing products. In this learning laboratory, students also create products for different areas of the company.
For example, they are currently working on automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to transport production parts and they have developed several elements aimed at specific needs in SEAT centres. Highlights of these include a device to carry springs, which guarantees they are available in the exact production location required, without slowing down assembly, negatively affecting their installation or the safety of the operator. The students have also designed miniature communication and radio models for the Technical Centre so that the engineers can remain working at their tables without the need to be in the cars.
With these kinds of projects, students not only address needs from a technical standpoint, but they also deal with other aspects such as economic viability, timings or quality criteria, among others. In this way, besides gaining technical skills, they also learn other competencies that will be valuable for their future, such as responsibility, customer focus and results orientation.
Centre of excellence in dual vocational training
The SEAT Apprentice School currently offers three middle grade vocational training cycles that qualify students for a dual Spanish and German degree in Machining, Electromechanical Maintenance and Vehicle Electromechanical Technicians. Over the years, the School has adapted to changes and developments in vocational training plans, adding pioneering programmes such as the 2012 implementation of the Dual Vocational Training system, which is based on the German model. This programme combines theoretical and practical classroom learning with work cycles in SEAT’s production centres. The system gives students the possibility of achieving their dual degree once they have completed the 4,600 hours that comprise their three-year course.
SEAT is the biggest generator of employment in the industrial sector and one of the largest in the country, contributing to the creation of close to 100,000 jobs (direct and indirect).