Professional Competitions: chance for W&H trainees

The WorldSkills Competition gives talented young people the chance to showcase their professional skills to a global audience. What’s more, this international competition has many additional benefits. In the following interview, we discuss the importance of professional competitions as part of W&H’s professional training programme and how the requirements of the WorldSkills Competition are changing.

The personal and professional development of young staff is of primary importance for Markus Fegg MTD, Head of Human Resources, and Daniela Malata, Vice President of Human Resources.

Markus Fegg, Daniela Malata (Human Ressources)
Markus Fegg MTD, Head of Human Resources, and
Daniela Malata, Vice President of Human Resources.
Marco Kern (Staatsmeister)
Reigning Austrian national champion, Marco Kern from W&H

Ms Malata, your employees always do very well in professional competitions. How much of a focus are these events for your company?

Malata: The professional training programme at W&H is designed to enhance our young recruits' professional skills, but also places great importance on personal development. Taking part in these competitions enables our employees to better understand their personal strengths and weaknesses. Competitions are about more than the event itself; proper preparation is essential and requires participants to organise their time and resources effectively. We therefore see professional competitions as an opportunity for our employees to develop as individuals and also gain valuable experience that they can apply in their future careers. These events are only one element of our training programme, designed to inspire our young trainees to achieve their potential. We have been investing in our internal staff training for decades and are very proud that our young people regularly achieve excellent results in competitions.

Mr Fegg, what are the reasons for getting involved in competitions? Why encourage employees to take part and support them in this?

Fegg: I always enjoy seeing how the participants develop as individuals when preparing for a competition. It’s great that the whole training department is really motivated to do well; they all support one another and celebrate every participant’s success. Whenever we take part in events such as the WorldSkills Competition, the benefits extend to all trainees, because those that enter the competition provide a fantastic example for everyone else.

What are your hopes for Marco Kern at WorldSkills 2017?

Fegg: I hope that he has fun, both as he prepares for the competition and at the event itself. Qualifying is a fantastic achievement in itself. The most important thing now is that Marco enjoys the whole process, from the preparation through to his time at the competition. He is highly skilled and mentally strong. If he achieves his potential and is happy with his performance, then that is a great success. After all, support and personal development are at the heart of good training. The final results in a professional competition are often decided based on factors that are beyond our control. So there is no expectation that Marco must finish in the top five. I simply hope that he enjoys the whole experience. And if he does, then I’m sure he’ll do well.

WorldSkills Competition
The ability to adapt quickly to the judges’ changing requirements will be key to success at this year’s
WorldSkills Competition.
series production, processing of castings
Marco Kern is practising hard for the new tasks at the WorldSkills Competition, including series production and the processing of castings.

Mr Kern, what skills must participants at this year’s WorldSkills Competition master that were not required five years ago? How have the requirements changed in your opinion?

Kern: New additions include series production and the processing of castings. Series production involves producing identical or similar parts in just four hours. Processing castings involves creating a finished component from a rough casting or pre-processed material. The challenge at the competition is that we are not told in advance which metal we will have to work with. We could be confronted with a host of different materials from aluminium to tool steel to copper, so we have to be prepared for anything.

In your opinion, are more changes likely in the coming years? If so, what direction do you see the competition taking?

Kern: I don’t think that there’ll be any major changes in the next few years. However, participants will undoubtedly have to work with improved higher-performance programming systems for CNC machines, and therefore programme even more quickly and effectively.

Do you think that the tasks set as part of professional competitions reflect real-life professional situations?

Kern: Generally speaking, the tasks are very realistic. The addition of series production and the processing of castings has, in my opinion, made this year’s competition even more true to the requirements of our professional work. Nonetheless, I would underline that the work of a CNC turner is very diverse. It’s a real shame but it is impossible to cover anywhere near every aspect of the profession in a three day competition with just four hours’ work per day.

Thank you for your time!