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SCRIPT: Studying hard for her upcoming exams… Zarwa is two years into an engineering apprentice scheme here in Germany. Trainees here learn everything from advanced robotics programming to 3D printing and modelling. Like many of her colleagues, Zarwa's convinced that when her training is finished, her future lies in working with smart, digital technology. SOUNDBITE, Zarwa Ahmad, ABB Apprentice: "Every day here we work with computers, and we use a lot of programmes…. // It is very important, because // when you see 10 years ago, the smartphones – we didn't have any, we had like Nokia phones. And now when you see we have smartphones, you can touch them, and you can do everything with them. I'm pretty sure that in the next years it will change a lot." Zarwa is just one of around 800 apprentices at this dedicated ABB facility in Berlin. When it was founded 65 years ago, the focus was on traditional techniques of welding and metalwork. But those have now been eclipsed by state-of-the-art digital and automation technology. SOUNDBITE, Gerd Woweries, Head of Training Germany, ABB: "Industry is changing, and the skills have to also change. World class products and world class technologies need world class experts – and we train them here." At a time when the digital revolution is changing factories and offices, technology firms are finding that it's never been more important to ensure a skilled workforce is ready for the challenge. That's good for workers facing up to a new kind of labour market – and, as the fourth industrial revolution gets underway, it's also good for business. SOUNDBITE, Jean-Christophe Deslarzes, Head of Human Resources, ABB: "Training has always been absolutely key. It's not the first industrial revolution, and training has accompanied our colleagues over the decades – actually over the 125 years ABB has existed… // identifying the skills that are needed in the future, and developing these skills in-house. // So I guess we're not only focusing on our business, but we also have a role macro-economically, macro-socially." The skills learned in centres like these are crucial to the kind of next-generation R&D work that ABB is bringing to market, both in Europe and in the developing world. Like ABB's smart sensor, for instance, which allows remote monitoring of industrial motors – or Internet of Things interface software – both projects developed recently by researchers in India. Translating cutting-edge training into cutting-edge research is just one way of showing how the digital revolution can best be harnessed… …by fostering a workforce that's been empowered to take full advantage of the changing opportunities.
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