Zaventem, Brussels. March 31st 2009: The global economic downturn is causing European governments to reassess their national priorities in favour of designing and making products as a means of long-term and sustainable wealth generation. As a result, schools and colleges around the European continent are investing in the latest CNC machine tool technology from Haas Automation Europe (HAE) and its Haas Technical Education Centre (HTEC) partners.
‘We are currently working on 25 new HTECs to open before the end of this year, everywhere from Portugal to Belarus, Russia and Sweden,’ says Mr. Bert Maes, HTEC coordinator at Haas’ Brussels headquarters. ‘National governments are allocating millions of Euros to invest in CNC machine tools and other manufacturing technology, to retool schools and colleges and to prepare students for careers in industry.’
Originally established in the USA and Canada, the HTEC program was conceived as a way of helping young people to access rewarding and lucrative futures in precision engineering by giving them the opportunity to train on the latest and the best CNC machine tools. Haas Automation Europe has already supplied more than 400 CNC machine tools to European schools on which an estimated 4000 students are trained annually.
‘The past few months have served as a long overdue wake-up call,’ says Mr. Peter Hall, managing director of HAE. ‘Companies and local economies are realising that they can’t prosper in the long-term unless they make things that people want to buy.
‘HTECs are helping to destroy people’s old, preconceived ideas about careers in manufacturing,’ he says. ‘They appeal to young people because they provide clean, high-tech and stimulating learning environments. They appeal to schools and colleges because they enthuse the students and help to build closer relations with local companies, who in return offer interesting jobs to graduates. As a result, we are witnessing a significant increase in the numbers of students wishing to pursue worthwhile careers in manufacturing.’
HTECs are supported by some of the best names in the precision engineering technology sector, including KELLER, MasterCam, Esprit, Renishaw, Sandvik Coromant, Schunk, Blaser, Urma, Chick and Air Turbines.
There’s also evidence that the HTEC program is helping to attract more female students to manufacturing industry.
‘Making things using modern technology is a knowledge and skills based activity,’ says Mr. Maes, ‘which is attractive to the best, most creative minds, irrespective of gender. The HTEC program is opening doors to industry that have been closed for far too long.’
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