Service technicians for East Africa – Successful launch of Krones’ new training programme
Not only in Germany but in Kenya as well, Krones provides fit-for-purpose training – for future service technicians in a sandwich-course system.
Some years ago, Kenya formulated a vision: by 2030, the East African country wants to join the circle of globally operating, wealthy nations. This fits in perfectly with Krones’ corporate commitment as well, to training properly qualified service technicians in Africa. Krones has been pursuing this goal for more than ten years now, but it was actually translated into hands-on reality in 2015.
Together with Coca-Cola Sabco and the training provider Centurion Systems, Krones has developed a training programme for Kenya modelled on the German sandwich course concept and subsidised by a PPP (Private Public Partnership) project of the German government. Under this scheme, young people with a school-leaving certificate are taught everything they need to know in order to subsequently as service technicians be able to commission, overhaul and maintain the machines and lines of food and beverage producers.
The focus is on shopfloor reality
The requirements posed for a training programme specifically tailored to the African market were stringent indeed: “Though there is in fact a tried-and-tested education system in Kenya, it doesn’t correspond to German standards, focusing as it does mainly on theory, and neglecting the practical aspects involved – not least because often there is simply no state-of-the-art equipment available for practising,” explains Claudia Klebensberger, whom Krones has put in charge of the HR aspects of this project.
But it’s precisely here that the training programme from Krones comes in: the trainees participating in the two-year programme spend a large part of their time directly at the machines – either on the training premises of the LCS Center in Nairobi, where customers’ staff are trained as well, or right on site in the various plants where they get involved with commissioning or overhaul jobs side by side with experienced service technicians.
Politicians are taking notice
The Krones project also attracted the attention of the Kenyan government – when some of its members visited the LCS Center in 2016 and familiarised themselves with the curriculum and above all the advantages of the sandwich-course training programme.
The German political community is likewise supporting the project, in the form of subsidies from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), which assists German companies that contribute towards upgrading local structures in developing countries. However, it’s not only Kenya that benefits from this financial aid, but two other African countries as well, in which Krones is actively engaged in training as part of the PPP project:
- In Nigeria, Krones is collaborating with an institute that is already providing training there conforming to German standards, paying for the scholarships of 20 students, and also providing some of the equipment involved.
- In South Africa, Krones has modernised and expanded the training premises at its LCS Center in Johannesburg, so as to upgrade the training options available for internal purposes and clients. The long-term goal here is to adapt the Kenyan training model to suit South African requirements as well – and by doing so to train even more service technicians for Africa in conformity with German standards.
And by the way: in July, the first round of training will end with the practical final exam. What precisely this looks like, how the new students fared, and whether, of course, they all passed, this will all be covered, too, in the Krones blog.