BASF hosted seven Chinese vocational school teachers to attend its Advance Technology training seminar on 24-26 July. As well as shop visits, an evening ‘roundtable’ took place at the BASF training centre with representatives of NSW TAFEs.
How does the Chinese system differ?
BASF’s James Green explained that the vocational teaching system in China is very much aligned with industry. For instance, in the mechanical section they have Toyota schools and in vehicle painting there are currently 17 BASF schools in China. Car-O-Liner, other OEMS and paint and equipment suppliers are represented and involved in this training.
The main difference is that the industry sets the curriculum and trains the school teachers to deliver it.
There is no apprentice system in China. The training begins with a 12 month program for school students and that gives them a qualifying level into the industry. Any further training of the students happens on site by the industry partner they are aligned with. There are three levels of technician qualification and these are again aligned with industry, so the car companies will specify what the skills sets needed for this will be and set the training requirements.
Of course, training these young technicians is in Glasurit’s interests, skills shortages are also an enormous issue in China - they can then supply trained young talent to customers such as Mercedes-Benz.
Chinese delegation reactions
The teachers were the top winners in a China nationwide refinish painting teachers competition held by BASF in 2017. They found all of the training contents provided by the BASF Australia team (Peter Jones, National Head Trainer James Green, Glasurit Trainer) was innovative and mostly new to them.
All teachers declared the seminar was of high interest and beneficial, especially colour matching using the Glasurit Ratio Scan spectrophotometer with Glasurit Profit Manager Pro colour retrieval system and the speed of Glasurit fast repair process with UV Primer Filler 151-170, 90 Line waterborne basecoat and Air Dry Clear 923-198. All agreed it was the fastest repair system they have seen.
The teachers were also very impressed with the advanced Glasurit Refinish Competence Centre and the training team.
The Chinese were joined by NSW TAFE techers for a forum. The discussion points were segmented into three categories – market dynamics, education methods and socio-economic.
There was a clear commonality between two totally different markets regarding skills shortages in the automotive repair industries, and the difficulty of attracting new young entrants into the industry.
The Chinese teachers were very interested in the mature market aspects, particularly the cost pressures and the efficiency the Australian market has adopted to maintain profits.
The Australian TAFE Teachers were interested in the close cooperation the Chinese vocational schools have with industry, like the example of BASF supporting the vocational schools with teacher skills development and syllabus content and structure.
The Chinese contingent was taken for a tour of TAFE Campbelltown Campus, Macarthur Prestige, RPM Narellan and Ken Shaffer Autobody.
Glasurit reports that Campbelltown faculty really connected with the Chinese teachers and the exchange was mutually beneficial. The Chinese teachers were impressed by the long and established TAFE vehicle painting program, compared with the new and emerging curriculum in China.
All the bodyshops were extremely welcoming, answering all questions and openly explaining their business models and procedures.