As the fourth industrial transformation becomes a reality, many companies are seeking a way to professionalize their personnel for them to fulfill the exact operations demanded by their positions.  One of these ways is dual formation, an educational German scheme, which has as an objective to professionalize and train, since the beginning, future technicians on their students’ stage.  Bosch plant Zaragoza is the first industrial plant in Cd. Juarez to offer this educational scheme which, since 2015 has had considerable results on this local plant.


Dual formation: a definition

Dual formation is the educational model widely spreader in Europe.  It is a scheme seeking to integrate students in alternatively to companies in order to develop their practical skills and on educational institutions for their theoretical formation during their entire educational formation.


In case of Bosch, exclusively students from Engineering in Mechatronics from the Universidad Tecnologica de Ciudad Juarez (UTCJ) link students interested in this program into the company in order for them being able to shape as technicians, with 80 % emphasis in practice inside the plant and 20 % in theory at school.


According with Heber Meraz, master instructor of dual formation in Bosch, this educational model has as an objective preparing students to enter quickly and timely into the work environment.


“This way it is intended to achieve a good labor performance at the moment of graduating, without requiring an additional training to start their productive stage,” said Heber Meraz.


Advantages for industry

For Heber Meraz and Zappia Vincenzo, the advantages of implementing a dual formation model in the industry are many: better and more specialized preparation of technicians in specific needs they have as company.  This has become a need due to technological changes industry has currently undergoing worldwide.


“Nowadays production lines require less operators and more personnel specialized in new industrial technologies, such as 4.0, robotics, digitalization and automation,” explained Vincenzo.


In this sense, for companies such as Bosch dual formation allows training future technicians since the beginning, instead of waiting universities graduate engineers who still have to be trained to use this technology.


Bosch, a dual formation Pioneer

The story of dual formation in Bosch plant Zaragoza dates back to 2015, year when the decision was made of implementing this model at the plant.  “As it is a German plant, Bosch has been familiarized with this educational scheme and in Mexico the plants of Toluca and San Luis Potosi already had what we call Dual Formation Technical Centers, which is where students take classes and learn,” said Zannia Vicenzo, coordinator of the technical center Bosch Zaragoza in exclusive interview for Mexico Industry.


For the plant, it was relatively simple implementing this system, since the infrastructure and study plans, in addition of management aspects, were planned based on other plants models, since this format is standardized.


At the beginning, Bosch settled this educational program to different educational institutions locally; however, implementing this program implies fulfilling changes on the study plans from the mechatronic career and only one school agreed to adjust to this model: the UTCJ.


The first generation of dual formation had 25 students, who already graduated on September 2018.  This manner, Bosch becomes the first maquila plant in Cd. Juarez in employing this educational scheme.


It is worth mentioning that nationally only 15 maquila companies, among which standout Schuler and Volkswagen.


Dual formation a demanding formation

Despite this educational model approach is mainly practical, it is demanding since its selection process.


The selection process consists in mathematics and skills exams, in addition of electronic practical testing and, finally, personal interviews.  “Our process is strict, since from the 200 candidates we have between 26 and 30 remained per generation,” explained Zappia.  It is mainly necessary to be a Mechatronics student at UTCJ.


This career consists in 8 four-month periods.  Instructors are engineers with Bosch experience and are exclusively dedicated to education at the plant; this with the objective of having 100 % availability inside the program.  For every three students there is an instructor.  In total, there are four instructors on this scheme.


After three years, students already work in production floors at the plant as superior technicians.  They have the option to continue their studies in UTCJ or only work.  The advantage of ending their studies in this university is that students graduate with two titles: one with international validity and another with national validity.  In addition, they have a technician positon in the company, with the possibility of continue growing inside it.


“When beginning as technicians they have many opportunities, not only in the processes area, but at any engineering area,” said Zappia.


The bilingual aspect is also important in this scheme, since students take English classes since the beginning in the university as well as in Bosch.


Unlike other formats as professional practices, internships or social service, dual information lasts longer.


Finally, it is important to underline that exams lectured in this career are endorsed by the German – Mexican Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CAMEXA, by its Spanish initials) what means that the level of the apprentices exams levels in Germany are the same Mexican students have to achieve.


First level infrastructure

The technical center where students take classes is a space of more than 1,200 m2 inside the plant.  They have two electronic laboratories, one of pneumatics and automation, one of manufacturing, another one of mechanics and machining.  There are At the machining workshop there are lathes, drills, CNC machinery, 3D printers, welding area, PLC programming and robotics.


The expenses of these facilities are absorbed completely by Bosch.


Lorenzo Velázquez, a remarkable testimony

Lorenzo Velazquez, who is 22 years old, is one of the students registered in this program.  Originally, he found out about the educational format through the news, therefore he decided to register at the UTCJ to be part of the dual formation.


“I liked the program because it will be the direct application of the knowledge I will have at school, and when I found out that they will be teaching us classes here, it was a big step for me, for my professional development,” shared Velazquez.


One of the particular advantages that Lorenzo sees in this model is that it allows personal development at the same time than the professional.  “Studying and working at the same time was something hard because I had responsibilities in both sides, but all that helped me to shape and be more responsible, honest with myself, give my best, focus on what I want,” detailed Lorenzo.


Finally, he underlined that the advantage of dual formation compared with other more traditional formats is that the student is not clear about when he could apply the acquired knowledge.  “In addition, traditional education is more theoretical and the industrial practical knowledge acquired in dual formation is not seen in detail,” he ended.