After Christina’s article about her dual studies some questions on the subject have reached us. How exactly does that work? Where can I find out more about it? Is this not immensely stressful? In response, I can tell you a bit of my life: I am studying electrical engineering in dual studies and at the moment I am working at KUKA Systems in the electrical design for my practical semester.
The first year of apprenticeship begins “normal” with all other apprentices for electronic technicians. Only for the dual students there are small classes with about ten people, visiting the vocational school in a block, approximately once per month. At the same time in the first half year we were working in the apprenticeship center, learning some basic skills, such as installation circuits, motor technology, electronic components, or the operation of measuring devices. A pneumatic and hydraulic course and a training in robot programming are part as well.
You get to know the production at the plant in the second half of the year and switch departments in periods of six weeks (E.g., repair, maintenance, electrical parts) – a priceless experience for the later work as an engineer. At the beginning of the second semester, you already complete the first part of the final examination, the midterms.
After that the first semester at the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences begins in October. Here you start with all the other electrical engineering and mechatronic students for the winter term. During the semester you are like any other student at the college, during the semester holidays yout get back in the profession. But now no longer in production, but in so-called “similar to engineering activities”, and help for example colleagues in the planning and conception of plants, build control system architectures or get in contact with the customer.
In the fifth semester the dual students then get into their internship term: this means working four days a week and visit practice complementing subjects the fifth day of the week at the University. I chose organisational psychology and economics and law. At KUKA, I am now working in the electrical design and working there as a regular employee. My most recent project: A test run of the new lightweight robot LBR iiwa should take place, to examine the accuracy of the internal sensors at high, low and fluctuating temperature. I have designed the control cabinet where the robot controller is located and where the signals of the sensors are processed. My task was to accommodate all of the components in the cabinet, order missing parts, and draw a circuit diagram, which subsequently goes to the electric pre-assembly, where it is now built – as you can see on the picture.
These activities are interrupted in November for a few weeks for the final examination, part 2. It is similar to the midterm exam: you get a space frame, which is equipped with some classic electrical equipment (FI, contactors, SPS, terminals, fuses, motor protection switch etc.). You must wire them during the exam period according to a predefined plan. The circuit is usually a control for a plant simulated on a self-soldered circuit board. This week I completed the theoretical part of this examination, the practical follows in February. With passing this one my apprenticeship is officially completed. Now I can focus on the studies and complete the sixth semester. Finally, the seventh semester is reserved for the bachelor thesis in which I will deal with another project for KUKA.
Overall, I think dual studies are a very good offer for everyone eager to already get practical experiences during studies. The regular exchange between study and occupation is rich in variety and I’m sure the experiences and contacts from the practical terms will prove in later professional life.
You can find more information about the dual studies with KUKA also on our website.