piston process manufacture
tuition precise theoretical
aspect automate impression
idyllic boast (2) outstanding
campus rank (2) advantage
tie (3) practical orientation
design strategic demonstrate
focus research structure (2)
dual sponsor responsible
enroll apply (2) finance (2)
firm (2) place (2) competition
attract edge (2) collaboration
set up recognize consideration
behest maintain competitive edge
abroad convince long-term
sure continuity attachment (2)
flexible sensibly apprenticeship
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Pistons being manufactured at the Mahler Company in Stuttgart. The process is completely automated and extremely precise, high-tech made in Germany.

Felipe Almeida has been taking a training course at the company. Skilled workers instruct him on the machines.

He’ll soon begin university studies in mechatronics, a combination of mechanics, electronics and computer engineering.

Mahler will pay his tuition.

Felipe Almeida, Trainee: “I’ve had a chance to get more of an impression about mechatronics. So that’s given me more experience. And then I got more interested in the theoretical aspects of the job.”

Felipe Almeida wants to study in Goppingen in southern Germany. Surrounded by idyllic countryside, the city boasts an outstanding research center.

Goppingen has a campus of Esslingen University of Applied Sciences, ranked highly in Germany because of its practical orientation, and close ties with industry.

Professor Reiner Versling is responsible for the mechatronics program.

Several companies sponsor a small, automated production line, where theory is taught with practical demonstrations.

Rainer Wurslin, Goppingen Technical College: “Technical colleges are structured to have a strong orientation toward industry and practical experience. Research is important as well.

But here the focus is on application that can be used directly in industry. And the only way you can offer that is to have regular contact with industry.”

Companies also play an important role in designing courses of study to meet the strategic needs of the industry.

This dual model allows students to remain employees, while furthering their education and training.

Their studies are also completely financed by their companies.

Peter Ruppricht, Student: “The advantage is that you maintain contact with the firms while you study. Afterwards, you know what interests you and you’ve already made contacts in companies that can place you.”

In Goppingen, those contacts are often international. A group of young Mexicans and Koreans is currently visiting the college. They’ve enrolled in a summer course for programming automated production processes.

The close collaboration between schools and industry is attracting a lot of interest abroad.

Rainer Wurslin, Goppingen Technical College: “We’ve set up technical universities courses at Tongji University in Shanghai, at the behest of the Chinese government. Setting up a technical college in Izmir, Turkey is also under consideration.

Countries in Europe and around the world recognize the quality of German engineers. So they’re trying to copy this system.”

Companies like Mahler want their engineers and skilled workers to have a competitive edge. That’s why the company’s training manager, Martin Thum, now works closely together with the Goppingen campus.

He’s convinced it’s in the company’s long-term interest.

Martin Thum, Mahle Training Manager: “When young people begin an apprenticeship at 16 or 17, and they get good training at a particular company, then they develop an attachment.

Additional study courses provide continuity.

I can image it will give us employees that we can use sensibly and flexibly at Mahler.”

Felipe Almeida is eager to begin his mechatronic studies in Goppingen. For him, there is no question about where his future lies.

After three years of theory, he wants to return to Mahler, where he’s sure a good job will be waiting for him.

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1. Mahler is a company that manufactures components. True or false?

2. What is mechatronics?

3. Does the University of Applied Sciences only teaches academic subjects and classroom theory. Is this right or wrong?

4. How does the university know what kind of skills and knowledge industries need?

5. Does the Goppingen Technical College only work with German students and industry?

6. Bonds form between trainees (apprentices) and their host company. Is this correct or incorrect?

7. Do the students pay for their university or college studies?


A. I have been in a training program. Yes or no? What about your friends or classmates?

B. Does your company provide training for employees? Do companies in general provide good training for employees? Are there apprenticeships?

C. There should more technical colleges, apprenticeships and technical training. What do you think?

D. What do (young) people think about apprenticeships, technical colleges and technical work versus universities and white collar jobs?

E. What will happen in the future?


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