Composites United e.V. (CU) is once again offering selected students the opportunity of professional training in the field of fiber composites to accompany their studies. After two years with online-only formats, classroom-based courses are now possible again as part of the 2022/23 program.

This year, CU is once again offering 12 selected students the opportunity to further their education on the topic of fiber-reinforced plastics at various events at selected universities and research institutions. The two-semester program starts with a theoretical part where the trainees learn the basics of fiber-reinforced composites. In the second semester, the students are expected to apply this knowledge in a student thesis in cooperation with an industrial partner of the CU.

The benefits are mutual: the trainees gain specialist and cutting-edge experience in fiber composites alongside their studies and can make their first contacts in the industry. Conversely, this also applies to the CU member companies, who greatly appreciate the early direct contact with committed young professionals.

After the successfully established Trainee Program of the CU could only take place via virtual events in the last two years due to the pandemic, meetings in presence are now possible again and the students started the trainee program with a two-day event in Stade.

Katharina Lechler (Composites United; front row left) with Prof. Dr. Wilm Unckenbold (PFH Hansecampus Stade; front row second from left) and Dr. Gunnar Merz (Composites United; front row right) welcomed the students of the 2022/23 Trainee Program to Stade.

Katharina Lechler, Head of Education at CU, and is pleased about the kick-off in Stade: “The online formats and virtual tours of the last two trainee years were a good alternative under the given circumstances. However, a virtual meeting cannot replace personal contact between students and specialists from science and industry. Being able to experience production facilities, manufacturing technologies and laboratories live, or even being able to lend a hand in the production of a component, has a lasting added value for our trainees.”

The kick-off event on October 27, 2022 took place at the Hansecampus Stade of the PFH – Private University of Applied Sciences Göttingen. Dr Gunnar Merz (CEO Composites United) and Katharina Lechler welcomed the participants. Prof. Dr. Wilm Unckenbold, Professor of Structural Mechanics for Fiber Composites at the PFH, then introduced the students to the topic of structural mechanics. On the second day, the trainees had the opportunity to get a taste of the German Aerospace Centre’s (DLR) Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems, which is also based in Stade. For many years, the institute has been researching more efficient manufacturing processes for CFRP structures, improved analysis and design methods and functional integration through adaptronics.

For Prof. Unckenbold, the kick-off was a very successful event: “After two years of online lectures, I also very much enjoyed the face-to-face meeting and found the exchange with the students very enriching.”

The second meeting already took place on November 3, 2022 at the Leibniz-Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe in Kaiserslautern, with the focus on the topic of “testing technology”. Events at the TU Delft, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, the Textile Research Centre DITF Denkendorf, the University of Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology and the TU Dresden will follow by the end of January 2023.

We wish all trainees a good start and lots of fun and, of course, success in the next two semesters!

On the first day of the Trainee Program’s kick-off event, Prof. Unckenbold (PFH Hansecampus Stade) gave the lecture on structural mechanics.