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IWM to Train Electric Bike Specialists

The training institute IWM in Erfurt and ExtraEnergy are planning special training courses for electric bikes aimed at bicycle dealers and the unemployed. The Federal Employment Office might finance the training courses for bike dealers also.

On 30 April guests of ExtraEnergy in Tanna for the big Spring 2009 Test, visited the Gesellschaft für Internationale Wirtschaftsförderung & Management GmbH (IWM) in Erfurt.

IWM is a TÜV-checked education institution in the region Erfurt, offering a range of IHK-certified training courses. Most multi-month courses are primarily aimed at the unemployed. The courses give the jobless a way back into the labor force, for instance, when IWM-trained people are employed by solar companies based in the region.

Every year IWM trains between 2,000 and 3,000 scholars. However, only between 5% and 15% of unemployed people find their way back into the labor market, says IWM head Bernd Nennstiel.

Training electric bike specialists

The state invests a big amount of money in education and continuing education every year. IWM and ExtraEnergy now want to tap this budget to the profit of the pedelec and e-bike markets.

Bernd Schorr, project leader of environmental education, introduced four possible courses for becoming a specialist on electric bikes. The duration of these courses may vary from a few days to several months and will be open to the traditional target group of IWM - the unemployed.

The idea is that full-time studies should be sponsored by the Federal Employment Office for between two to a maximum of six months.

For industry, two exciting options are under discussion:

1. A two-month training courses for bicycle retailers, partly or fully financed by the Federal Employment Office.

In cooperation with manufacturers of electric bikes, IWM and ExtraEnergy want to offer 2-month training courses for bicycle dealers. Presently, IWM is investigating whether such courses could also be financed, or part-financed by the Federal Employment Offfice. In the optimal situation, the Federal Employment Office would pay the teaching costs, travel costs, accommodation and lost wages, which means total cost of about 15,000 Euros.

There definitely is a need for such training courses, said Hannes Neupert of ExtraEnergy. „There are many motivated bicycle traders, who see a big business for themselves in the electric bike market, but do not have enough knowledge of this complex topic."

It would, therefore, be an almost unbelievable opportunity for retailers, if they could remove an employes from their wage bills in winter, and get him or her back in spring as certified electric bike specialists.

2. Courses for staff of individual manufacturers

On 30 April the group (including the manufacturers Biketec and deVELOpment GmbH) discussed the possibility that manufacturers train IWM lecturers, before sending their employees to be trained by IWM.


Copy and photos: Susanne Brüsch
Translation: Christoffel Volschenk

2 May 2009



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