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In the presence of 300 guests from the worlds of politics, commerce, research and education, Hamburg’s Governing Mayor, Olaf Scholz, has opened HCAT, the Hamburg Centre of Aviation Training on the 26th of May 2011.
Located in the Hamburg borough of Borgfelde, the building is almost 3000 square metres in size and embodies an inter-campus cooperative project, the only one of its kind in Europe. Universities, vocational training schools and the aviation industry itself proactively network here to train specialist personnel on site. Rooms, example aircraft sections, equipment and tools can be shared and there can be a direct exchange of know-how between teaching, research and real-world practice. What this means is that qualifications are directly aligned with the needs of the industry. And this, in turn, means that top personnel who have mastered the very latest technology will continue to be available for Hamburg’s aviation sector in the future. The main areas of focus in advanced vocational training are avionics/electronics and modern production processes; in academic teaching, the focus is on cabins and cabin systems.
Olaf Scholz, Governing Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg:“HCAT is an important and innovative infrastructure project for the Leading-Edge Cluster and indeed for Hamburg as a whole. It is an important building block in the successful efforts of the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region as a Leading-Edge Cluster.” HCAT represents the success factor “personnel” within the integrated strategy, “A new kind of aviation”, for which the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region was recognised by the Federal Government as one of Germany’s first Leading-Edge Clusters. “This inter-campus cooperation between companies and colleges, unique in Germany, should further enhance Hamburg’s outstanding reputation as an innovative training centre for aviation technology. We are participating in all of each other’s qualification areas,” comments Matthias Jürgens, Principal of the State Vocational School for Manufacturing and Aircraft Engineering G15 and the man in charge at HCAT.
The G15 Vocational School coordinates one of the HCAT focus areas, ASQ (Avionics and Structure Qualification Centre). The state-certified aeronautical technician training programme, with its new major in avionics, has already been running for a year. There is a great need for avionics technicians in the industry, thanks both to the trend towards “all-electronic aircraft” and to new structures built from lighter materials such as CFRPs (carbon-fibre reinforced polymers). From now on, trainers and instructors from Airbus and Lufthansa Technical Training can teach students and trainees about repair and joining techniques, using real aircraft structural elements and modern fibre composites in HCAT’s new workshops.
The companies also benefit from the second building area at HCAT, the Cabin and Cabin Systems (KKS) laboratory. The cabin laboratory is operated by Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg), which has been offering study programmes in cabins and cabin systems for six years already. “With HCAT, the university now has the wonderful opportunity to train students in the multi-facetted area of aircraft cabins even more effectively, and more than anything, in a very hands-on way,” reports Prof. Dr Michael Stawicki, President of HAW Hamburg. “HCAT brings together what belongs together: companies, colleges and universities, all of them engaged in the fields of aircraft interiors and cabin systems. A laboratory environment is being created here which will make it possible to investigate the whole range of design and layout aspects in the field of aircraft cabins. This is unique in the university sector in Germany.”
Using a 16-metre-long fuselage section from an Airbus A300, for example, students, become acquainted with the architecture and function of the underfloor area of an aircraft and the cargo loading system. A cockpit model is used when studying concepts of ergonomics, lighting and air conditioning. The functional effectiveness of insulating material is investigated in a climatic chamber with the help of an A320 section. As a Leading-Edge Cluster project, the fitting out of the cabin laboratory was funded with 2.4 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Airbus and Lufthansa Technical Training provided several models and substantial equipment for the projects.
Joachim Sauer, Director of Labour and Vice-President of Human Resources at Airbus:“Airbus is heavily involved in the initial and advanced training of its personnel. With HCAT, the Hamburg Metropolitan Region has a unique infrastructure for qualification and research in aviation technology. We will make use of the outstanding training opportunities to ensure that we continue to have ideally-trained specialists for the construction of our aircraft in the future. The parallel utilisation of HCAT for cabin research by HAW complements the Airbus cabin activities very well and promotes the sustainable expansion of Hamburg as a worldwide competence centre for cabins and cabin systems.”
The use of a common infrastructure brings with it a clear advantage. On the one hand, training and qualification is directly aligned with both real-world practice and the needs of the industry. The teaching programme can respond to new materials, electronic innovations and new production processes even before they are put into practice. On the other hand, there is a direct transfer of knowledge at all levels – between college and the industry, between students and technicians, between aircraft manufacturers and maintenance providers, between universities and vocational schools and trainers, etc.
Uwe Mukrasch, Vice President of Human Resources at Lufthansa Technik, summarises: “For trainees and assistants, for course participants and for students, the modern learning environment at HCAT is a motivating force which encourages success. Every individual benefits from this, as do the companies and the vocational schools and universities. It is in cooperation that we are presented with the great opportunity to master the technological and personnel challenges of the future.”
Another first at HCAT is the participation of three government agencies in the public-private partnership: the Department of the Economy, Transport and Innovation (BWVI), the Department of Science and Research (BWF) and the Department of Education and Training (BSB). BWVI’s contribution of 8.6 million euros covers more than two thirds of the investment in the buildings. BWF and BSV are primarily financing the ongoing operations, whilst LTT and Airbus are funding the workshops and equipment.
There is a third pillar in the HCAT structure alongside ASQ and KKS, serving as a platform for various projects. These projects may be carried out by the HCAT partners or also by other players in the Aviation Cluster such as small and medium-sized companies. The work at HCAT is coordinated by the Advisory Board, consisting of Airbus, Lufthansa Technical Training, Lufthansa Technik, Hamburg Airport, the G15 Vocational School, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg), Hamburg University of Technology, Hanse-Aerospace, HECAS, Nordmetall, the Employment Agency and the Department of the Economy.
HCAT was initiated, by the way, by the Aviation Industry Qualification Initiative, which has been ensuring the supply of specialist personnel over the short, medium and long term with numerous programmes and measures for the past ten years. The Qualification Initiative is therefore using the occasion of HCAT’s official opening – a milestone in the Initiative’s work – to host a tenth birthday celebration at HCAT in the evening for all who have been involved in the project.
About the Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region’s Leading-Edge Cluster Strategy
The Aviation Cluster Hamburg Metropolitan Region is a partnership network of aviation companies, associations, universities and regulatory authorities. With a combined workforce of more than 39,000 persons, it is one of the world’s leading locations in the civil aviation industry. The three key players, Airbus, Lufthansa Technik and Hamburg Airport, along with more than 300 small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as a variety of scientific and technological institutions, all contribute their know-how and expertise. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research recognised the Aviation Cluster as a Leading Edge Cluster in 2008. The innovation strategy, “A new kind of aviation”, has the goal of making aviation even more economical, more ecological, more comfortable, more reliable and more flexible. To that end, the Aviation Cluster is investing at least 80 million euros in research projects and further expanding its four competence fields: aircraft and aircraft systems, cabins and cabin systems, aviation services, air transport systems. The Federal Government is providing 50 percent of the funding for the projects.
More information : www.hamburg-aviation.com