Volkswagen Academy India began its three-year Dual Apprenticeship Programme at Pune Plant in 2011. This Mechatronics course educates students on various aspects, i.e., mechanical, electrical, electronics and IT. With the first batch now in its final year, the syllabi required apprentices to undertake a practical project. Keeping focus on manufacturing, apprentices built a low budget car.
The special firefighting car to be built needed to be capable of daily use within the manufacturing facility by the Fire and Safety Department. In keeping costs low, scrapped parts and components from VW Pune plant production departments were put to use.
14 apprentices worked on the project, four girls and 10 boys. Volkswagen Vento and Cross Polo parts and components were used. To ensure firefighting car capabilities, car body design modifications were made. Working on a Vento design, fabrications were done from B-pillar till the tailgate for a ‘pick-up’ design. A 1.6-litre TDI engine was used. Tailgate fabrications facilitated hinges at the bottom for easy loading and unloading of items from the rear storage space. About 160 parts were specially designed for Volkswagen plant’s firefighting car project to be used for daily inspection and movement of material by the Fire and Safety Department.
Mr. Vijayan KT, Responsible for Dual Apprenticeship Programme at Volkswagen Academy India, said “Through the Apprenticeship Programme, we intended to create a skilled force which could work in various areas of manufacturing immediately after finishing their course. The car-building project has successfully proven the intention behind our programme and has brought out high potential of the youth.”
He added, “The well-accomplished project of building the firefighting car shows the diversity of education our Academy students receive and the course’s unique approach towards practical learning.”
Mr. Frank Herold, Head of Pilot Hall, Volkswagen India Private Limited, said “It was fascinating to see the enthusiasm with which the apprentices accomplished the project. They have applied their knowledge in an appropriate and practical way by building this unique firefighting car for our Fire and Safety Department.”
Pallavi Sabale, an apprentice said, “During the building of this firefighting car, we got hands on experience with activities like drilling, tapping, soldering, welding, riveting, painting and denting. We are extremely happy that we got an opportunity like this to prove our skills.”