In a constantly changing world, where today's careers are not those of tomorrow, the key word is to anticipate. Anticipate the needs, new processes, and new technologies. But above all, it is essential to anticipate the transmission of this know-how to those who tomorrow will face the challenges of the future: the students.
This is the mission that drives Avio Aero's increasingly intense training activities which in recent years has evolved in several new degree courses created through the collaboration with the main Italian Universities.
For instance, along with the University of Salento and the Federico II University of Naples the master degree in Manufacturing Engineer Advanced Program (MEAP) has been activated. While the Politecnico di Torino offers the masters in Additive Manufacturing and Manufacturing 4.0 and also the Additive Manufacturing’s focus within Mechanical Engineering master degree.
It is a new educational system that increasingly acts as a bridge between the university and the company that is a stated objective for the employment market: less frequently, however, it happens that these two dimensions are integrated from the beginning of a student's university career. Alfredo Anglani is President of the Engineering Council - Industrial Mechanical, Management, Materials and Aerospace Department of Università del Salento and, recounting the Advanced Manufacturing course, underlines that "the improvement action involved in this degree course - and distinctive with respect to other partnership initiatives - is that the design of the training course is agreed with Avio Aero's engineers, together with whom modules and educational programs are defined."
This innovative system is characterized by an accelerated approach to the reality of the company, which therefore approaches both "hard" issues and the whole sphere of skills defined as "soft skills". "Students have a strong interest in non-academic topics," says Gaetano De Chiara, Avio Aero Engineer and lecturer at the seminar dedicated to soft skills at University of Naples Federico II. "Topics like Problem Solving challenge the student, forged from years of higher education and academic studies on unmoving ministerial programs, to expand his critical thinking by stimulating him to change his viewpoint for approaching problematic situations."
One of the first graduates of the new MEAP (Manufacturing Engineering Academy Project) degree course at the Università del Salento, Margherita Carbone highlights how much appreciated is the course’s focus on the soft skills. "This course has allowed me to acquire transverse technical skills in all areas of advanced manufacturing, not just for aeronautics. Especially during the internship period in the company, I was able to acquire and consolidate most of the so-called soft skills, so essential for coping with the working environment."
David Joyce, Vice Chair of General Electric and President and CEO of GE Aviation, described Additive Manufacturing as "the Netflix of industrial processes", referring to the revolutionary nature of this technology for which Avio Aero is considered a pioneer in Europe.
"I could acquire and consolidate a large part of the so-called soft skills, they're fundamental today in order to face the work environment"
Former student of the Additive Manufacturing’s focus within Mechanical Engineering master degree and now a research fellow at the Politecnico di Torino, Giovanni Rizza believes that this training course can give a boost with respect to other courses that "lead" to similar jobs: "the role of production engineer can be covered by multiple engineering courses. If the company owns additive manufacturing machines (and there are more and more of these companies), obviously it will choose an engineer who already knows the processes, materials and design techniques used in additive manufacturing."
Confirming the potential of the young people who undertake this pioneering course of study is Paolo Calza, Avio Aero Manager who guided the students during their visit to the Turin Additive Lab: "This new technology is extremely disruptive as our American colleagues say: it breaks all the patterns employed up to now. And that's why today's young people, with no preconceptions and full of energy, represent the future of Additive Manufacturing."
The Master is currently offered at the Politecnico di Torino and Bari and sees the contribution of a wide-ranging industrial partnership, created to address the evolution of technologies within companies. In fact, the process of digitization that we are experiencing and that is assaulting the labor market is one of the issues that today's universities must consider. So, how is the university moving to cope with this change?
Antonio Langella, Coordinator of the Master's Degree Course in Mechanical Engineering for Design and Production at the University of Naples Federico II, is among the professors who are engaged in this challenge. "Based on the experience gained with Avio Aero, over the last two years new specialization paths have been considered in addition to that of Advanced Manufacturing, such as: Advanced Mechanical Design, Road Vehicle Design, Technological Processes and Mechatronics."
"I believe that the training course in Additive Manufacturing is one step ahead amongst the majority of other engineering courses"
Even the Politecnico di Torino constantly focuses on the future, as explained by Professor Luca Iuliano, the coordinator of the Master in Additive Manufacturing: "This Master identifies new trends in innovation and introduces them both in training and in research activities. The reason is linked to the effervescent research activity at the university, also thanks to the Interdepartmental Centers and Research Platforms participation. This is possible thanks to the multidisciplinary skills of its researchers and the collaboration with the leading companies in various industries present on the regional, national and international levels."
On the company side, on the other hand, "The professional growth of students is a responsibility," says Matteo Rizzo, Avio Aero Engineer and tutor at MEAP in Brindisi. "Investing in training, integrating industrial reality with university courses, brings a considerable impulse both to the growth of young engineers and, consequently, to the ability to support the enormous growth that the Aerospace sector is facing in recent years, thus creating resources increasingly ready for new technological and industrial challenges."
But what do those, who choose it, think about this new educational planet? “Thrilling!” Says Gianluigi Sollo, former student of the Advanced Manufacturing course at the University of Naples Federico II, and now part of the Operations Management Leadership Program at Avio Aero. "I've had the opportunity to participate in innovative projects, and to have responsibilities and opportunities not available to everyone. Avio Aero wanted and continues to invest in me, allowing me to grow, as an engineer and as a person, in a way that is rare to find elsewhere."
Another equally important challenge for Avio Aero, in part also linked to training, is the lack of women in the technical and scientific professions (STEM, Science Technology Engineering Mathematics). "Our company has about 5000 employees but there are only 350 women," states Barbara Preti, HR Leader at Avio Aero, who for this reason is personally committed to the association of companies that promote the STEM professions among young students, Donne Professione STEM.
"Avio Aero wanted and continues to invest in my professional path, allowing me to grow as an engineer and as a person"
"As in any job, the participation of both genders is to be considered as an added value, compared to the participation of a single gender," says Margherita Carbone. "The women entering the engineering field will be a driving force as they will undoubtedly have the merit of bringing their practical sense and their tenacity, qualities very useful for an engineer."