Fotos: © EuroSkills 2021 8.5 Learning through competitions Many companies in Europe lack qualified workers. Competitions ensure that young people get enthusiastic about technical topics and can develop their skills as the industry’s future professionals. They are also given the opportunity to showcase their talents. By qualifying young people, the shortage of skilled workers can be reduced. Numerous Festo employees support these competitions in different roles, supporting educational events all over the world in the process. EuroSkills The European professional competition EuroSkills Graz 2021 took place in Styria (Austria) at the end of September under the current coronavirus regulations. Festo was one of the two main sponsors of EuroSkills and Festo Didactic provided learning systems, software and components for four competition disciplines. The competition disciplines were mechatronics, Industry 4.0, plant electrics and industrial mechanics. Europe’s top professionals go for gold The competition attracted around 25,000 visitors, including school classes, ministers, company representatives, association members, instructors and relatives of the participants. It is set to take place in Shanghai (China). In preparation, WorldSkills and Festo have organised several hybrid competitions this year. Festo has made an innovative contribution to the WorldSkills Year of Innovation in the process. The first hybrid competition for the discipline of water technology took place at the end of May 2021. Another international hybrid competition in the discipline of water technology took place in July 2021. ‘Hybrid’ means that the participants and supervising experts only see each other by means of online communication and the practical exercises are carried out on site and monitored remotely using webcams. The international competition’s total of eleven participants in the came from China, Iran, India, South Africa and Belarus. They had to work on technical questions from the field of water technology and water management and solve practical tasks on Festo Didactic’s learning systems, for example. Festo and WorldSkills organised the Mechatronics Hybrid Skills Challenge together at the end of November 2021. A total of 24 teams from 18 countries competed against each other, from Canada, Europe, Japan and even Sweden and South Africa. The young participants were faced with the task of adapting a circuit diagram and troubleshooting with the FluidSIM simulation software. What’s more, a digital twin had to be programmed with CIROS (3D simulation system) and a PLC, the EasyPort interface and the touch panel as hardware. In addition, knowledge was tested with a questionnaire and tasks had to be solved on the Festo LX digital learning portal. Festo Didactic’s Mechatronics Skills Competition Managers managed the competition centrally from the company’s headquarters in Germany. Festo and WorldSkills are also initiating a Hybrid Skills Challenge Industry 4.0 for the new competition discipline Industry 4.0. The exciting topic is called virtual production, where topics such as human–machine interface, big data, IIoT, digital twins and energy efficiency are taught. Participants develop their skills through several interactive online training courses and a hybrid competition in real-life conditions. The tasks will be solved in the Festo LX The diverse blend makes it clear that young people are optimally promoted when many different areas work together. A total of around 400 European competitors from 19 countries and three host countries competed against each other. The German national team travelled to Austria with just short of 70 people. Among them were 29 German competitors who competed in 24 of the 48 disciplines. Festo Didactic’s Skills Competition Managers prepared the respective competitions together with their teams and managed the professional competition with the international teams. The three-day competition was characterised by passion, commitment, expertise, teamwork and concentration. Medals for Germany The WorldSkills Germany team won a total of 18 medals at EuroSkills 2021, three disciplines of which were sponsored by Festo. The team won gold for industrial mechanics and silver for mechatronics and plant electrics. WorldSkills Festo is a Global Industry Partner of WorldSkills and has been involved in the international professional competition for 30 years. Due to the pandemic, the WorldSkills Shanghai 2021 professional competition had to be postponed to 2022. digital learning portal. The participants use machine-learning software, the CIROS simulation programme and the MES4 production control software. The training courses paired with the final hybrid challenge prepare WorldSkills participants in the best possible way for the real competitions. FIRST® LEGO® League The FIRST® LEGO® League support programme introduces children and young people to technology and scientific research in a playful way. The robotics competition is held annually and motivates participants to solve the tasks with innovative ideas as a team. The teams are judged in three categories by the jury: robot design, research and teamwork. With their robots, which they have developed themselves, the teams take part in a robot game over three rounds. What’s more, there is a working committee called ‘Technology and Robotics for Kids’, where the children and young people are looked after by volunteers from Festo all year round. Up to eight Festo employees are permanent members of the team of supervisors, with around ten others offering regular support in the background. At the Denkendorf location, there is a training area where up to four teams can train at the same time. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the competition for the school teams had to be held online in the 2020/2021 season. This time, the jury consisted of 11 jurors – three are from Festo. Two Festo employees also supported the organisation of the virtual competition. RoboCup Festo is a global sponsor of the RoboCup Federation and supports the unique combination of a hands-on a competition platform with a strong academic exchange and an excellent research environment. The soft-skills development of the participants is also promoted. These include teamwork, interdisciplinary tasks as well as time and a tight budget. With Robotino and the Logistics League, Festo Didactic is promoting the issues of flexible material flows and multi-agent systems in a production environment consisting of prefabricated islands. What is special is that former participants manage to find employment with successful companies around the globe. In 2021, the competition was held virtually; in 2022, it is set to be held again in the physical world and this time in Thailand. 8. Technical basic and further training and corporate educational responsibility 8. Technical basic and further training and corporate educational responsibility 76 77 Festo SE & Co. KG Sustainability Report 2021 Festo SE & Co. KG Sustainability Report 2021