Bohdan Wojnar, ŠKODA AUTO Board Member for Human Resources, explained: “We responded quickly, efficiently and pragmatically to the COVID-19 pandemic by consistently digitalising our vocational training and professional development courses. Our trainees, students and employees benefit from this boost in digitalisation and can easily and conveniently continue their training from home. This means the transfer of knowledge is ensured, even during a pandemic. I want to thank Alois Kauer, Head of the ŠKODA Academy, and his team for the smooth changeover from the classroom to online training.”
Alois Kauer, Head of the ŠKODA Academy, emphasised: “Last year, our ŠKODA Academy proved that it can live up to its educational mission even under difficult circumstances. We have invested over 340 million Czech korunas in training programmes and technological equipment since 2013 – that is paying off in these challenging times. Last year, 4,100 people completed an IT course, and more than 16,500 employees were trained in electromobility. This year, we will continue to expand our range of digital vocational training and professional development programmes.”
When production in the Czech plants came to a halt during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, training programmes also had to be suspended. In response, the ŠKODA Academy increasingly digitalised its courses and focused on live webinars. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, ŠKODA AUTO had invested in the equipment required for distance learning for trainees and students. In addition, the company’s training facility developed new online tools.
To support employees and managers in the transition to remote working, ŠKODA AUTO has launched the #STRONGERTOGETHER project. In addition to technological equipment, the car manufacturer provides its staff with the relevant materials, guides and further training opportunities so they can efficiently adapt to working remotely. Managers are learning new techniques to guide their teams through these changing conditions and the ŠKODA Academy has produced manuals and offers courses to support them.
Equipped for the future: electromobility courses and IT training
While comprehensive digitalisation measures were being implemented with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ŠKODA AUTO’s special training programmes focusing on electromobility continued. More than 16,500 employees have now completed the programmes introduced in 2016, which are not only designed for staff and students, but also for the employees of its suppliers. Since 2017, all trainees from the vocational school have undergone electromobility training specifically tailored to their line of work. In 2020, ŠKODA AUTO established another course in this area and more than 700 participants have already completed this training programme.
Throughout this digital transformation, IT training has become even more important. ŠKODA AUTO now covers the entire spectrum, offering everything from an introductory professional development course to comprehensive IT training programmes. For example, employees can train to become junior data analysts. The company places great importance on using state-of-the-art technologies that are also prevalent in the workplace, for example in the field of hydraulics and pneumatics or in control systems. ŠKODA AUTO also looks at current training trends and, for example, uses live and online formats with gamification elements in e-learning. DEON provides a platform for virtual collaboration.
In light of the current COVID-19 situation, ŠKODA AUTO’s production and operational staff who are in quarantine are having the option of working remotely from 18 January 2021 – following an agreement to this effect with the carmaker’s social partner, the KOVO union. From 25 January, this will also apply to technical/commercial staff whose area of work means they cannot work remotely. This mobile work
regime takes a form of qualification improvement. All that will be required is an agreement with their supervisor. The remote-working option for production and operational staff, as well as commercial/technical staff, is a pilot project in collaboration with the KOVO union. The agreement is based not only on the company’s trust but also on its responsibility for the health of its workforce and on providing good living and working conditions. At the same time, every employee is expected to act in a fair and responsible manner.
Attractive: wide range of collaborations has many advantages for students and trainees
ŠKODA AUTO collaborates with approximately 20 universities in the Czech Republic – for example in the context of internships or in the preparation of final assignments – to promote the dialogue between business and science. Graduates of the academy are provided with opportunities, such as professional internships or international trainee positions including internships abroad. Furthermore, there is a development and talent programme for doctoral students to work on their thesis together with ŠKODA AUTO experts. Since 2019, ŠKODA AUTO has honoured the best doctoral thesis of the year with the ‘Laurin & Klement’ award including prize money of up to 80,000 Czech korunas.