“Tell me and I'll forget; teach me and I'll remember; involve me and I'll learn”. This is the motto you can read over the entrance door to the workshop in the Apprentice School. What began with courses of a puerly technical nature is now a Dual Training system with more than 5,000 theoretical and practical class hours per student. In its 62 years of existence, more than 2,800 students have received training at the SEAT Apprentice School. We look back at how it has evolved.
15,000,000 hours of training. The SEAT Apprentice School was a project that was created with the Zona Franca factory in Barcelona in the 50s. The ideal way to work with the best professionals was to train them on site. Since then more than 15 million hours of training have been provided.
The pioneers. The first 18 apprentices left the school in 1960 and entered the factory, opening the way for quality training and job stability that continues today. Xavier Méndez enrolled in the School in 1963. “SEAT has been with me throughout almost my entire life; from apprentice to factory worker and from factory worker to Head of Maintenance in the Bodywork area of the Martorell factory.”
A classroom called factory. Former student and SEAT employee Antonio Molina recalls that in the 70s “there wasn't a single car in the workshop because we were trained in facility maintenance. The School has been anticipating the needs of the car industry and has learned to adapt.”
Nowadays, SEAT Martorell itself has become the main classroom. “Several years ago, practical work was only carried out in the School's workshop but today's students have access to the factory right from their first year. Some mornings I attended class and others I went to the Martorell facilities”, says Alberto Martínez, a former student of the 2016 graduating class.
Combining theoretical and practical classes is the result of implementing the Dual Training system since 2012, whereby students obtain a dual German and Spanish degree. At the end of their first term they can start working in the factory and get paid for it.
A woman's world, too. In 1971 the first female student entered SEAT's training facility. Women had come to stay. Currently there are twice as many women at the Apprentice School as at other similar schools in the sector. Marisa Dameá always knew that she wanted to work in robotics and programming. She is studying an advanced degree in Automation and Industrial Robotics and sees her future in SEAT. “I can see myself working in the Technical Centre or in the factory with the robots.”
A contract on the horizon. Students who successfully complete their training cycle are hired by SEAT with an open-ended contract. Over the past six decades, 2,542 graduates have been rewarded this way. “Every term at the Apprentice School is an opportunity for young people to further their talent by training them with the best tools to tackle their working future. Having the right skills and a commitment to continuous learning will be the stand-out factor for both their career and the industry itself” according to Laura Carnicero, who is the head of Training at SEAT. In fact, 11% of all SEAT executives are graduates of the School.
Teaching the future. “At SEAT we know that there will be professions in the future that haven't been invented yet. Our people must be ready for them”, says Laura. To do so, they immediately start studying different programming languages and even have access to a small 'smart factory' so they can learn and practice the most futuristic technologies.
A new term is beginning on 17 September with 74 students who are going to specialise in four advanced degrees. “Everything is changing and evolving very quickly, so we have to give the students constant learning capabilities as what they assimilate today is a good foundation for the future, but not enough. They must continue to learn for the rest of their lives”, concludes Laura.
The Apprentice School in figures
- More than 4,300 students since it opened
- 62 years of history since 1957
- 3-year courses with 5,000 hours of training in total
- 1 out of every 10 SEAT employees has studied at the School
- 11% of SEAT executives are former students
- 23 million euros invested in training in 2018
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