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    B-3550 Heusden-Zolder
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Panel and bridge builders

There are too few young people entering technical education today. As a result, there is an enormous shortage of trained technical talent. You can do two things as a company. Just resign yourself to the matter with a sigh, or also go out into the field. Here at P&V we resolutely go for the second option. R&D engineer Bernd Mouchaers explains how we fill the gap between training and practice.

“Panel building is a highly specific business, both the engineering and assembly. The subject of panel building is barely covered in most training, while in practice the technological developments are continuing at pace. Electrical panels have become much more complex in recent years. The Smart story is the perfect example of this.”

“Here at P&V we supervise dissertations, we organise company visits and offer practical training. We work particularly hard on practical training for technical secondary education. But other companies are obviously also doing that too. We go a step further with our Practice Campus. Our aim is to give the level of students, training and the schools a boost.”

“Our COO Ghislain Hardy and myself also sit on the advisory committees at different schools. There we try to shape progress from a practical perspective. What should tomorrow’s students be capable of? What skills must he or she have? We check the answers to these questions against the teaching package.”

“We also work on workplace learning, together with the PXL University College and Thomas More. We make our workplace available so their students can put their knowledge into practice together with us. In real terms: the Thomas More students work with us for a week here on engineering. We teach them to work with EPLAN, our drawing software. If they do well they are exempt from certain lessons.”

“Another colleague works closely with CVO Step, an education platform for adults. We support both the students and the lecturers with tours, and by taking a closer look at specific subjects in panel building.”

Airhockey robot

“There is also “Limburg STEMT ’t af”, a project to encourage Limburg technological talent. There we worked together with VTI Beringen on developing an airhockey table… and a robot opponent for at the table. Well, they did the building, we mainly offered support (laughs). Then for example we together refined the electrical diagrams and one of the trainees built the panel under our guidance. We also made the materials available.”

“And we also try to reach young teenagers. The First Lego League is an example, where pupils from the fifth and sixth form build and program a Lego robot. We also sit down together with teachers from primary education to see how we can bring pupils in contact with technology.”

“All this obviously costs time and energy. But our management is a strong advocate of this work. And in due course all these efforts will obviously pay off…“