“The original idea was very simple: by establishing our own academy, we wanted to create a knowledge platform and thus assure ourselves of a competitive advantage,” recalls Dr. Eberhard Niggemann, Director of the Weidmüller Academy. With the founding of the Academy in 2003, the company established a platform for the exchange of knowledge and for in-service training / education. “Our idea has been a complete success,” says Niggemann. “The Academy has developed in the last 10 years into a place of learning, of practical application and knowledge transfer.” The “experimental idea” behind the Academy is important to the director, Dr. Niggemann, which encourages employees again and again to try innovative and unorthodox ideas. However, the Academy is not divorced from Weidmüller, as many courses revolve around issues which will later be relevant in the company's practical work.
Weidmüller recognised at an early stage that it is vital for the future success of Germany as a high technology economy, that companies constantly extend their scientific lead, and set themselves apart from the global competition with innovative solutions. This demands creative minds, young talent trained in accordance with the company's needs and good networking with universities and partners to promote the exchange of knowledge and obtain innovative impulses. The company's investment in the Academy has been recognised many times by official bodies. Only recently, the Weidmüller Academy was named a “Place of Progress” by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research – here the future is being forged!
The Weidmüller Academy's philosophy is based on a holistic approach to young talent recruitment, training and networking. It combines all activities related to training and knowledge acquisition in the company under one roof and acts as a platform for knowledge transfer with external institutions and partners. Besides technical qualifications, there is also a clear focus on the personal and social development of employees: “It is the employees who make the difference between a good company and a very good company,” points out Dr. Peter Köhler, Chairman of the Weidmüller Executive Board. “In the future, the success of employees will also be determined by soft skills.” Weidmüller apprentices therefore attend teambuilding seminars from the first year, or learn in interdisciplinary projects to think outside the box, and strike out in different directions to find solutions.
The first international offshoot of the Academy has existed since 2011. Based on the successful model in Detmold, in 2011 Weidmüller established the Asia Academy in Shanghai to promote knowledge and the exchange of ideas in the Far East. There are clear strategic goals behind the move for the Asian market, as Dr. Köhler knows: “We have been active in China for a long time and the Asian market is changing rapidly. The Asia Academy gives us the opportunity to benefit from China as it becomes a location for research and development, and to internationalise our company yet further.”
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