The shortage of skilled workers is a topic on everyone’s lips – especially in relation to the technical professions and engineering. But what is actually happening on the ground? What is going on as regards university training? What lies ahead in the coming years? And what can we do about it?
These are the questions that came up on January 20th 2023 in a conversation between Professor Martin Versen, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Rosenheim Technical University of Applied Sciences, and Lars Ingenhag (Head of Business Unit Automation), Ralf Tüchler (Finance & HR Manager), Michael Grampp (Head of Software), Robert Gans (Head of Mechanical Construction) and Tobias Sturm (Software Developer) in Raubling.
The team from esmo automation presented their diverse projects and areas of activity in the field of special purpose machinery manufacture and automation. Professor Versen offered insights into the current situation and studying at the TU.
The number of engineering students is falling dramatically, not just in Rosenheim but across Germany. Universities and businesses have to work harder and harder to attract prospective engineers – not just before they graduate from high school, but well before that, from when pupils are in their early teens. Of course, the significant decline in the number of first-year students will later feed through into the number of graduates, exacerbating the situation for the skilled labour market over the long term.
There was then an open discussion about how this trend should be mitigated by the university on the one hand and in the company on the other. As part of this, the participants talked about the possibility of closer linkages between theory and practice, and between the university and the company.
The esmo automation team has a clear focus here on providing students with even better support as they enter the working world – for example through project days, trips, vocational activities for students and active support with undergraduate and postgraduate theses. Professor Versen emphasised the importance of the partnership and indicated that he was open to future subject-specific collaborations.
At the end, during a tour of the facility in Raubling, the esmo automation team presented a small selection of their current projects and explained the different challenges that each one poses for engineers and developers, design and production.
There are plans to hold more discussions like this one.