From Constance via Berne to Norway
Christiani, based in Konstanz, has been active in technical vocational training for over 90 years and now supplies its products in more than 90 countries – in Norway, IKM Instrutek acts as sales representative. The teaching systems are supplied to vocational schools, colleges and universities with electrotechnical and mechanical specialisations. But also medium-sized companies and large corporations, such as Equinor and Hydro in Norway, use Christiani’s teaching systems. “Especially in the areas of Industry 4.0, electromobility as well as renewable energies, we are experiencing an ever-increasing demand. We visit teachers in training institutions to find out what equipment they need in the short and medium term as part of technical education and training and which solutions from Christiani’s product portfolio can improve teaching,” says Bjørn Fredrik Ilestad, Sales Engineer at IKM Instrutek.
It all started in 2017 at the Worlddidac tradeshow in Bern, which brings together traders and buyers of products and services from the VET sector, science and technology. “At that time, I got into conversation with a representative of IKM Instrutek,” explains Sandra Strobel, Area Sales Manager Europe at Christiani. “Originally, we didn’t have the Norwegian market in mind, but it turned out that the idea of dual education based on the German model is anchored and our solutions fit very well with the vocational training programmes in Norway.” In the meantime, she travels to Norway several times a year to get a picture on site and organise training.
Successful projects in Norway
Together, the companies have already initiated several successful projects in Norway, including the delivery of a training system for high-voltage technology in electric cars to the Thor Heyerdahl School in Larvik, the Færder School in Tønsberg and the Norwegian Automotive Training Network (Bilfag). “Shortly before the pandemic, we organised a two-day training course in Larvik and trained 30 automotive specialists on the theoretical and practical use of the Christiani high-voltage trainer, which can be used to simulate faults in the drive and power supply, among other things. The teachers now act as multipliers and pass on the knowledge they have learned to the trainees,” says Strobel. In addition, activity-based training systems for automation technology are in use in Raufoss, Lillehammer and Kristiansand, which teach simple procedures to complex processes according to the principles of Industry 4.0.
Good cooperation during and after the pandemic
Many teaching institutions were partially closed or allowed only limited contact during the pandemic. “As we are well equipped digitally in Norway and have built up good business relationships with the relevant stakeholders over the past years, we were able to continue the cooperation without any problems. We have had many digital meetings, but not all systems and learning content can be presented as well digitally as in the classroom,” Ilestad says.
Next year, more physical training is on the agenda again: in March 2022, an e-mobility event is planned, and in autumn 2022, they plan to participate together as exhibitors at the vocational championships in Kristiansand, hosted by WorldSkills Norway. “As a trade representative, we naturally also follow how the market is developing. For example, the construction of several battery factories in Norway requires new skills and equipment. This is definitely an area where we will explore further business potential in cooperation with Christiani,” Ilestad explains.