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Gefragter Nachwuchs: Absolventen der Verpackungstechnik
In their first semesters the packaging engineers learn the basics in natural science and technical subjects at each of the universities. Mathematics, chemistry and physics form part of the curriculum, to name but a few subjects. Since packaging involves materials as versatile as paper, cardboard, plastics, film, polystyrene, glass, wood and metal, the curriculum also involves looking into the various raw materials. “We ask ourselves the question: how is the raw material manufactured, where does it come from and what can I do with it” explains Thomas Oertel who is currently studying at the University for Technology, Business and Culture in Leipzig.
“And which manufacturing systems do I need for this,” is Oertel’s next question; which is why the students also participate in lectures and seminars on such disciplines as mechanical engineering, general engineering and automation. This knowledge is important to understand the plants and systems with their packaging and filling processes. Even the recycling aspect is part of the materials subject.
At a later stage of their studies students acquire skills in applied economics, management and law enabling them to later assume leadership roles in their companies. Project management, logistics, packaging marketing and cost management are important here. Likewise, language skills such as technical English can be acquired. The Stuttgart Media University places special emphasis on design transferring basic knowledge in colour and composition theory, perception psychology and semiotics. All universities offer individual advanced study options helping students to sharpen their profile. These include marketing and quality management, for instance.
“Our approach is to train packaging technology ‘generalists’ able to cover the entire bandwidth of packaging,” says Eugen Herzau, Professor for Packaging Technology in Leipzig. Alongside in-depth theoretical expertise a constant practical focus is important. “Lecture content is deepened by practical lab exercises in most subjects,” says Herzau. To this end students often have a pool of state-of-the-art machinery at their disposal such as folding box gluing machines, machines for processing fibre packaging and making cutting dies as well as labs with forming, filling and sealing (FFS) machines, injection moulding and stretch blow machines or extruders.
In addition to this, excursions are offered to gain an insight into firms from different sectors or a project management module where a project specified by a company is handled. Universities attach special attention to the so-called integrated practical semester where contacts with industry can be made – e.g. for the Bachelor’s Thesis. “Quite a number of internships are available and they are pretty well paid at EUR 400 to 800 per month,” says Oertel. This can, of course, also take place abroad: A Leipzig student is currently working on his thesis after a practical term with Unilever in England.
Some universities cooperate directly with other universities from abroad. The Beuth University for Applied Sciences in Berlin entertains a partnership with the Université Champagne-Ardenne/ESIEC at the French city of Reims, where students can also study packaging technology. At the Stuttgart Media University there has even been a German-Chinese course for packaging technology since the 2008 summer break. Initially the courses are held in colloquial and technical Chinese in Stuttgart, then the students complete a practical semester in a print shop or packaging company in China studying at the Technical University of Xi’an. After seven semesters they graduate with a dual degree issued by the two universities. In the Netherlands there are also courses in packaging design and management, which can be attended as part of the Master’s course in Industrial Design Engineering at Twente University.
Graduate career prospects are very good here because packaging engineers for industry and retail have been in demand throughout Europe for years now. “I’m not aware of a single graduate without a job,” says Oertel. Firms in the automotive industry, retail and wholesale as well as companies in food processing are desperately seeking graduates and often address universities direct. After finding work former students then return to the lecture theatres to present projects of their current employers. “And many vacancies are also offered on the faculty noticeboard,” says Oertel adding “most of the time it’s covered in job offers.”
Tasks of graduates holding a B. Eng. or M. Eng. in Packaging Technology normally include packaging development, testing and consulting, manufacturing, quality management as well as product management. “Packaging technology is a very interesting and rewarding profession. You learn a lot every single day and things never get boring,” confirms Beuth graduate Vivien Varduhn from Berlin.
Packaging technology can be studied at the following universities:
Gefragter Nachwuchs: Absolventen der Verpackungstechnik - Stuttgart: Hochschule der Medien
Gefragter Nachwuchs: Absolventen der Verpackungstechnik - Berlin: Beuth Hochschule für Technik
Gefragter Nachwuchs: Absolventen der Verpackungstechnik - Leipzig: Hochschule für Technik, Wirtschaft und Kultur
Gefragter Nachwuchs: Absolventen der Verpackungstechnik - München: Hochschule München (HM), Verfahrenstechnik, Papier und Verpackung
Gefragter Nachwuchs: Absolventen der Verpackungstechnik - Kempten: Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften
Gefragter Nachwuchs: Absolventen der Verpackungstechnik - Dresden: TU - Institut für Verarbeitungsmaschinen und Mobile Arbeitsmaschinen