Dr. Ariane Reinhart

Continental launches qualification initiative

  • Continental founds institute for securing the employability of its employees
  • Further vocational education and training opportunities for Industry 4.0, new drive concepts and digitalization
  • Initial focus on qualification of production employees
  • Executive Board member for Human Relations Dr. Ariane Reinhart: “Changes resulting from electrification and digitalization are affecting the entire industry. Lawmakers, trade unions, companies and employees must all work together.“
  • Continental calls for lawmakers, companies and employees to share the burden
  • Necessary qualification measures cannot be financed unless employees are willing to invest their own time

Hanover, July 16, 2019. Continental has founded an institute for technology and transformation. The primary task of the new institute is the qualification of all employees in Germany. Initially, the focus is on the group of untrained and semi-skilled workers, who Continental is giving access to further education and training programs certified by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The institute's services cover Industry 4.0, new drive concepts and digitalization.

"As electrification and digitalization become more widespread, simple tasks are being replaced by more complex tasks that require training. These changes are far-reaching and affect the entire industry. Qualification is therefore only possible through a sensible sharing of the burden: lawmakers, trade unions and companies must all work together,“ explains Dr. Ariane Reinhart, Executive Board member for Human Relations. “Above all, the employees also need to play their part. Our institute provides the framework for self-development and maintaining their employability."

Dr. Ariane Reinhart, Executive Board member for Human Relations (Middle): “With our institute we are offering our employees the framework for self-development and maintaining their employability."

The company uses the Continental Institute of Technology and Transformation (CITT) to actively manage the transformation process currently taking place across the entire automotive industry. The institute was designed in collaboration with the Continental Corporate Works Council, IG Metall and IG Bergbau, Chemie, Energie (Metal, Mining, Chemical and Energy Industries Unions) to secure the long-term employability of employees.

Qualification only works if employees invest their own time

The projected costs for needs-based qualification are huge. They include both training costs and costs for lost working hours. “The qualification of employees is a task of historic proportions. As a company, we bear overall responsibility but cannot implement needs-based qualification alone. To train only 20 percent of our employees in Germany for nine months would cost us €1 billion,“ explains Reinhart. Continental is accordingly calling on lawmakers, companies and, above all, employees to share the costs of the necessary qualifications. “The Qualification Opportunity Act is the first step. But we also need our employees to be willing to change and invest time outside working hours in their own qualification.“

CITT offers certified further vocational education and training courses

Continental is implementing a transparent, selective approach to strategic workforce planning to determine the future qualification requirements of different employee groups. Validated diagnostic procedures are used to compare the individual skills and abilities of employees with their future field of activity. Further training is provided wherever qualification is required. The institute is initially focusing on further training programs for production employees. The first measures start in September. The qualification opportunities for Industry 4.0, new drive concepts and digitalization will be gradually extended for the selective further education and training of all employees in Germany. In order to achieve this objective, the institute is devising an appropriate qualification strategy, establishing the required program structure, managing the different training options and ensuring standardized implementation at the various locations. The quality of the training will also be assured by ICC certifications and vocational qualifications. "It was very important to us to assume responsibility at an early stage. The purpose of founding the CITT was in the interests of all our employees, to define the framework and measures that will secure their future employability,“ explains Hasan Allak, chairman of Continental’s corporate works council. “Now it's important for our employees to show a high degree of willingness to learn, and proactively and independently join in shaping their future.”