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HTECs Sans Frontier - First European HTEC Student Exchange

“The Swedish companies were so impressed by the skills and competence of the students. This shows the value of the HTEC program to build the skills necessary for modern factories,” said Birgitta Dahlén Wilhelmson, international coordinator at the Swedish host HTEC-Bäckadalsgymnasiet.

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Zaventem, Belgium. May 26, 2011:  Between March 27th and April 9th, ten students from the Belgian HTEC VTI St-Lucas Oudenaarde traveled to HTEC-Bäckadalsgymnasiet, in Jönköping Sweden, to refine their skills in innovative manufacturing technologies.

This exciting exchange was staged and managed by Haas Automation Europe and twelve partner organisations, including the 2 HTECs, the Swedish Haas Factory Outlet (a division of Edströms) and Swedish manufacturing companies, SEMCON, TANSO, Kongsberg, Mansarps Mekaniska, Bubs Godis, and Prototal. The Swedish firms agreed to mentor students during the ten days, with either one or two students from the group attending a host company. Other local manufacturers, Linto and IKV-Tools also gave the students the opportunity to see how their Haas CNC machines are employed and optimised in demanding production environments.

Arnoud Vanderbauwede, one of the Belgian students, had the opportunity to follow the footsteps of a service engineer of Edströms during installing and monitoring Haas machines in the field. “The variety in the work schedule and the diversity in working environments made it a positive and exciting experience.”

Lode Poelman, one of the Belgian teachers who accompanied the students on their trip to Sweden, was equally enthusiastic: “Compared to domestic internships and domestic knowledge exchange programs, overseas experiences like this have greater value. The trip has been a unique and instructive experience for all of us. We’ve learnt a lot about innovative manufacturing techniques such as CAD/CAM, automatic welding, industrial design, 3D scanning and vacuum modeling, as well as new approaches to teaching and the different working attitudes of companies in a foreign country.”

“The Swedish companies were so impressed by the skills and competence of the students. This shows the value of the HTEC program to build the skills necessary for modern factories,” said Birgitta Dahlén Wilhelmson, international coordinator at the Swedish host HTEC-Bäckadalsgymnasiet.

Mr. Bert Maes, Haas Europe HTEC coordinator, concludes: “This exchange with the backing of the European Commission was not only about technical skills, but also about creative thinking, problem solving and skills in global collaboration. The HTEC network is a growing platform for inspiring and advanced CNC training and skills. We believe that companies who eventually hire HTEC students will benefit tremendously from their experience and international outlook.”

In autumn 2011 students and teachers from the Swedish HTEC will visit their Belgian colleagues. As well as visiting the Haas Automation Europe headquarters in Brussels, the Swedish students will also spend time working at local companies, so they too can experience living abroad and working in a foreign factory.

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