Daily News Egypt interviewed Janina Kugel, labour director and member of the Managing Board at Siemens AG, to discuss the company’s strategy for qualifying Egyptian employees in their regional business.
What is Siemens programme for training and qualifying employees for projects in Egypt?
We already have two young people from Egypt who started the training programme with Siemens in Berlin last summer. They are part of our international apprenticeship programme in which young people of different nationalities come together at our sites in Berlin in order to be trained as engineers in electronics or mechatronics.
Vocational training is part of German heritage. People are trained for three years, alternating between practical and academic phases with a focus on the technical part. They also learn other qualifications as soft skills and, of course, German [as all training is conducted in German]. The trainees return to their home country when they have finished their training.
Now, we are also ready to educate those who will later be involved in Egyptian power plant operations. The first class, which consists of 25 people, will begin next month. There will be further classes; in total, we will train 600 people.
The training will focus on technical competency and will also include soft skills like management, processes, and communication. For us, it is important that our trainees are provided with a well-rounded education in order to manage plants.
Do you have a programme in universities for young Egyptians?
Yes, we do cooperation with different universities. In Egypt, we cooperate with Cairo University, Ain Shams University, the American University in Cairo (AUC), the German University in Cairo (GUC), and the technical education institute in Al-Matariyyah.
We have also global trainee programmes for which anyone can apply.
Do you cooperate with Egyptian ministries or government agencies in vocational training?
We work with the Ministry of Electricity and with the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ). We want to create skills and employability that will last in Egypt. The idea is to train people in the region in order to maintain project sites and to build up a positive and long-term effect on education in Egypt.
What is the size of funds allocated by Siemens for qualifying and training young Egyptians?
We are investing a seven-figure sum in Euros. Education is key and that is what we are striving for at Siemens. The local qualification will benefit Egyptian society. Those who have received training will pass their skills on to the next generations. So it is our contribution to society.
How much money is being allocated by Siemens to its training programmes around the world?
In fiscal year 2015, Siemens invested more than €500m in our training and development activities worldwide. We allocated €242m to training and education for youth and €265m was dedicated to the continuing education of our employees.
Siemens announced that it intends to establish wind turbine manufacture in Egypt and that the project will create job opportunities for young people. How many jobs will be created?
We will provide training and employment for up to 1,000 people. They will be hired through the Ministry of Electricity and we will support the ministry by choosing people with the necessary qualifications. The power plants are operated by our client, so the total number of graduates hired is up to them. We expect to provide up to 600 candidates for employment at the power plants. Besides our own factory, there will be secondary employment for contractors and suppliers in the various wind parks during their construction phases across the country.
Is there a limit for the number of jobs in your projects in Egypt?
No, we don’t have a limit. We are entrepreneurs. We want to grow our business profitably. So if we grow, we also make sure that we have the appropriate employees to do so, in terms of quantity as well as qualifications.