Issue Ambassador Rudolf Kast

Our Issue Ambassador Rudolf Kast introduces himself.

Photograph of the Issue Ambassador for Knowledge & Competences Rudolf Kast.

As Chairman of The Demographic Network (dnn) – a platform for knowledge transfer and expert input on demography – I am Issue Ambassador for Knowledge & Competences for the Initiative New Quality of Work. The ability and the willingness of companies and their employees to engage in life-long learning is the key to the continued success of companies.

Why am I Issue Ambassador for Knowledge & Competences?

For a long time, Western industrialised nations were the workshops of the world in which high-value goods were conceived and produced, whilst the rest of the world largely acted as suppliers of raw materials and consumers of industrial and consumer goods. This division of labour is increasingly changing – and at a far greater pace than was previously deemed possible. Though Germany, as the most successful industrial nation in Europe, still has a significant manufacturing sector in its economy, the service sector is growing here too. With that, education and learning are of every increasing importance for maintaining international competitiveness. Life-long learning must be the guiding principle of the modern world of work. Ever shorter production cycles and the ever faster introduction of technologies – but also continuously changing markets and customer demands – require adaptive employees who are keen and able to learn. Throughout their educational and occupational lives they must acquire, maintain and continuously develop the competences necessary for changing tasks and work profiles.

The ability to learn, the willingness to learn and the success of learning are decisive drivers of innovation in organisations and in companies. As a result, the ability and willingness to engage in life-long learning will become the key to the successful future positioning of our society within international competition. Investments in education need to be made both by individuals and in a professional and organised manner by employers. This should start with the modularisation of teaching and learning contents in schools and continue with the on-going diagnosis and development of performance. It would, additionally, be helpful if the joy of learning were developed already at the pre-school stage, and could be maintained beyond school and carried into working life! Conveying enthusiasm for lifelong learning – here companies have a lot of catching up to do. I see significant opportunities for the necessary further development of our knowledge and competences in creating new and interactive learning environments, and in developing the technical opportunities of learning in a consistent and participative way. These opportunities need to be defined by each company individually and tailored to their needs.

Why do I support the Initiative New Quality of Work?

In my role as Personnel Manager of the SICK AG in Germany I was confronted with the challenges of life-long learning at an early stage. Amongst other things I internationalised the apprenticeship scheme, introduced life-long learning concepts already in 1995 and had research conducted into working and learning in teams of mixed ages – and implemented the practical insights gained. I would like to share this experience through my role as Issue Ambassador for Knowledge & Competences as part of my exciting work for the Initiative New Quality of Work. The Initiative is unique because it offers a neutral platform for exchanging information – a platform which spans the social partnership. In doing so the Initiative does not remain academic. Rather, its aim is to make new knowledge and insights available and tangible for companies on the ground through, for example, examples of good practice, publications and tools for employers.

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