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  Motor mechatronics as
     a career choice


Since the change over from 'motor-mechanic' to 'mechatronics technician', the popularity of this career has taken a large step forward, even though there are better paid jobs and it still means getting one's hands dirty, it is, for a lot of school-leavers, the first thing on their minds. The good news is: Taking pleasure in automated mechanics (automobiles), understanding it and the interest in technical development, which, in the age of electronics, is one of the most important basics.

In the last 40 years the amount of job-starters, with or without a Certificate of Secondary Education has dropped distinctly. In the meantime, only approx. 30% with - and 10% without the certificate - take up this trade. Now there are distinctly more with 'O-levels' and, with approx. 25%, an increasing number are high school graduates (matriculants). This shows, on the one hand, the development in educational qualifications, on the other hand however, it also illustrates the high level of the requirements, 40 years ago, metal working was the absolutely essential part of the training, nowadays, together with mechanics, it is above all, the electrical side and with it, the application of computers and software.

It is difficult to make an estimation, but if in 1965, 85% of the job consisted of metal working, nowadays (2006), this amount has been almost completely taken over by the electrics/electronics section. The introduction of electronics in motor cars started as far back as the mid 1970s. The change over to digital electronics then followed at the end of the 1980s. Nowadays, it's all about computers and networking, also in the workshops. At the same time, the onniscient textbook has been replaced by a whole system of knowledge- and information sources. Therefore, the independent procurement of information has become an increasingly important part of the training.

Independent of this, are other educational changes. The competition in this trade has also become fiercer and fiercer, partly because the customers have become increasingly flexible as far as the choice of workshop is concerned. Certainly, the price is important, whereby the quality of the work and the whole customer-service also plays a role. If earlier, one was bound, because of the much more frequent visits, to the (brand-name) workshops, a large number of service-providers are available today.

This also means a change in thinking as far as the training is concerned. Todays generation of scholars, who have a certain consumer standard, must slowly prove their worth on the other side of the sales counter. Even if it does not concern the mechatronic technician, no-one in the company is immune to customer contact. Apart from that, customer-friendly consideration plays a constant role in repair estimations. Since there are often several solutions to the problem, all with varying prices and varying hours of work.

To be a little more explicit, it is at this point that the cross-over from school-life to apprenticeship is hard felt, where the showing of social competence is more necessary. There is hardly any situation, where the influencing is more varied, because now, apart from the parents as supervisors, there are colleagues, journeymen and perhaps also those higher in the company ranks, in addition, there is the trade-schooland the non-technical tuition. There may also be apprenticeship support and in-house training. On top of all this, there is also the customer-contact mentioned above. One can consider these to be high requirements, they can also be understood as a wide spectrum of learning possibilities.

The reorganisation has also ended the annoying discussion about 'only'- theorists or 'only'- practical people. Earlier, the followers of both theories could argue for hours about what is more important for there pairing of a motor car. The new tests require, in the written section with text-gaps and answers which have to be ticked off, possibly less writing work than the practical part. In this case, more extensive texts are required in the preparation for a practical test. Here one must also be able to express oneself freely, e.g., when planning work schedules. Of course these test papers are considered in the analysis and evaluation. This makes it quite clear, in the motor technology both the theorist and the practically experienced mechatronic technician are needed. 05/08



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