By: Natalia Perdigón

Mexico City, Mexico

The Mexican automobile industry is quickly becoming one of the most thriving industries on the continent and currently employs around 500,000 technicians. A significant increase in production is envisaged by 2020, and preparations are already being made to train the best human resources in the country.

The country is currently the seventh largest automobile manufacturer in the world, and production is expected to rise by more than 40% by 2020. Big names like Nissan, Volkswagen and General Motors all have engineering centers in Mexico, and this boosts the local market and, at the same time, creates jobs for qualified staff. Eduardo Javier Solís Sánchez, President of the Mexican Automobile Industry Association (AMIA), recognizes the importance of the training his technicians need and explained to E-Learn Magazine the strategies they employ for achieving this.

AMIA_Solis_Eduardo“We work alongside the formal education system to ensure that curricula exist that are relevant and in line with what the industry needs. We have an important link between academia and industry, so that young people can get the training we require,” he says.

Around 70% of the personnel the in the automobile industry requires experience in metallurgy and electronics, principally operators and technicians at preparatory level, which means 12 years of study to get the respective certificate. This is the equivalent of what is referred to as K-12 in the education model of countries like the United States, Canada, and South Korea.

Alongside this, the federal government has a dual training model in the form of a link with academia in the final year of classes. This agreement, which is based on Germany’s Federal Professional Training Institute (BiBB) model, was signed in 2009 and allows students to join companies such as B. Braun Aesculap (Mexico), Jera Leasing and Tornillos Victoria. The aim is to integrate educational technology courses with national schools like the National Technical Professional College (CONALEP).

Solís points out that, “this is an industry that requires highly trained personnel, and if we can manage to work with the formal education system, it reduces the training costs that companies have to bear.” Another practice is for academic institutions to forge alliances with industries and the government. Distance education makes it possible to extend this technology, so that certain elements of the education model can be available on a large scale. According to figures quoted by Solís, around 100,000 students are currently studying in this manner. Mexico Distance Education University and the Public Education Secretariat are currently leading the way in these activities.

New technologies, such as e-Learning resources, enable the skills of staff in an industry where training methodologies and the transmitting of knowledge are vital to be explored and improved.

The automobile industry accounted for 3.2% of the country’s GDP in 2015, and this is why the Economy Secretariat is also encouraging public skills development policies in vocational areas related to the so-called ‘careers of the future’ as well as in ones directed at personnel currently working in plants.

This is an industry that requires highly trained personnel, and if we can manage to work with the formal education system, it reduces the training costs that companies have to bear.

Education is the key in Mexico’s automobile industry, as there will be a need for a further 150,000 properly trained technicians if the production forecast for 2020 is to be achieved. The big challenge the sector is facing is to consolidate an education model that boosts worker development so that company needs can be met.

“We are striving to ensure that Mexico continues to be talked of as a great place to manufacture vehicle parts, but also as somewhere that is innovative, with great designs.  We are placing our faith in engineering centers graduating around 120,000 engineers each year,” he adds.

*Eduardo Javier Solís Sánchez, President of the Mexican Automobile Industry Association (AMIA)

*Main photo: 123rf