At the end of September (September 30 - October 3, 2019), an interesting event took place for 10 teachers of the Institute of Woodworking and Computer Technologies and Design. BLUM organized a study tour to its production facilities in Austria. Teachers have been invited to participate in the trip from UNFU. They have been cooperating with LTD “Bloom-Ukraine” for many years in order to familiarize students with innovative trends in the use of modern furniture accessories and new directions in the formation of furniture-capacities.
The idea of forming a group not of people directly involved in the activity of the company, but of educators who prepare specialists for the furniture industry, arose from the head of the department of design Prusak V.F. In 2018, after visiting BLUM's plants, he made the proposal regarding the excursion of teachers to the head of LTD “Bloom-Ukraine”, Mr. Nestor Y.B. The Austrian administration supported the proposal.
As a result of the organizational work, the time of the visit and the quantitative composition of the group from the Institute of Woodworking and Computer Technologies and Design were determined: the Department of Design was represented by Prusak V.F., Bekhta N.S., Kupchyk R.M., Makar Z.Y., Pylypiv I.Z., Prusak Y.V.; Department of Technology of Furniture and Wooden Products - Kushpit A.S., Solonynka V.R., Chopenko N.F., Ilkiv M.M. The delegation of educators also included teachers from Chernihiv, the National University of Life and Environmental Sciences of Ukraine and the School of European Design, a total number was 18 people.
The trip was very intensive. The organizers envisaged a cultural program and training, besides acquaintance with the production.
We landed at the Zurich airport, traveled by bus to the Austrian town of Bregenz, where we settled at a hotel on the banks of Lake Constance, situated where Germany, Switzerland, and Austria meet. Lake Constance is the largest and one of the deepest lakes in the Alps (250 m deep).
After a rest, on the same day our delegation reached the small German town of Lindau by boat. Strolling through the old streets, we tasted appetizing German cuisine at the restaurant on the waterfront of the lake bay, where numerous yachts and boats swung on the waves. So, we visited three countries on the same day.
The following day was Cultural Day. The trip to Bavaria and to the world-renowned Neuschwanstein Castle (which means "The New Swan of the Rock") was planned. In fact, we were amazed at the fairytale of this place, managed to get inside the castle, visit the beautiful surroundings, make unique photos. For design professionals, the architectural designs of the interior and the historical exhibits of the furniture and equipment of the castle were of great interest.
“Orange Day” is a day of visiting three BLUM plants. We started this day with presentations: listened to the history of the creation and development of the company, visited two showrooms with the latest product innovations, etc.
BLUM is a family-owned company established in 1955 by Julius Blum. He began his business of improving the mounting of horseshoes for horses, figuring out how to improve their durability. And in three years, having started working on accessories, has released the first curtain for doors ANUBA. Over time, Julius Bloom passed the management of the firm to his son Gerhard, and he, last year, to his son, Philip Bloom.
Knowing about the teaching staff of the group, the BLUM administrators organized a seminar for us on the subject: "Training in Austria and at Blum". To train its employees, BLUM has a school that currently counts 389 students and 100 teachers. It turns out that their leaders, too, like us, care for staff and carry out career guidance: they come to schools for high school students and talk about the company, the professions that can be obtained in their school and social security. The result of this work is a competition for up to 3 people per seat. The school provides the opportunity to gain 9 professions - mechanic, equipment operator, electrical engineer, etc. The peculiarity of study is the combination of theory with practice: 25% of the time is devoted to theory, 75% - to the practice that students take at all 8 factories.
During the 1st and 2nd year, students acquire basic knowledge (except theoretical, learn to use hand tools, perform simple technical operations). In the 3rd and 4th year there is a bias in the chosen profession. 60% of students come from high school, aged 15 years. 40% are students come from other institutions or just older employees (up to 42 years old) who want to acquire a certain profession. On average, 80% of students stay at BLUM after finishing school.
In the first year of studying students receive about 400 € of scholarship, up to 4th year the scholarship is about 1000 €. In addition, the rent of accommodation is about 500 €. For successful learning, students can be rewarded with bonuses.
Walking through the production workshops of the factories, we noted a high culture of production: they are illuminated, clean, provided with the equipment of pleasant colors (not depressing and gray), for the convenience of employees in each workshop there is a coffee machine. During our stay at BLUM was "Apple Week". This region turned out to be known for its cultivation. So at every workshop or office we saw a basket of apples, each day a different sort that everyone can eat for free.
When acquainted with the company, particular emphasis was placed on Bloom's environmental policy. Since this region is ranked 2nd in tourism in Austria, this issue is of major national importance. Plants have many solar panels installed. 80% of the energy required for production is obtained from their own sources, one of which is the use of energy recovery ventilation. They encourage workers who get to work from the suburban area, by offsetting them in part by the cost of petrol, but at the same time they encourage employees to cooperate for three to four in one car, not everyone in their own. Workers can move between the buildings by bicycles, electric bicycles (helmets for which are available at the reception desk), or by smart electric vehicles for longer distances. There is even a prize draw for those who use such vehicles most often.
The trip to Austria ended with a pleasant experience of flying over the snow-covered Alps.
We are grateful to the administration of LTD “Bloom-Ukraine” represented by Mr. Nestor Y.B., as well as to his employees Lyubomir Lemak and Lydia Rybchenko for a wonderful opportunity to visit Austria and get acquainted with modern production.