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Investing in Youth


FCA is at the forefront in educating young people to face the challenges of their careers

FCA University, Students

July 15, 2019 - “I’ve always loved cars. I was one of those kids who couldn’t wait for Sunday to watch Ferrari race around the track, so I didn’t think twice when I discovered that there was an automotive engineering degree program in Turin. I left Rome, my hometown, and took on the full five-year program with the goal of taking part in one of the first programs designed jointly by academia and industry, which in Turin meant Politecnico di Torino and FCA.”
Cosimo Colaneri, EMEA Planning, Methods and Cost Control – Product Development at Mirafiori, looks back enthusiastically on the start of his journey in the automotive world, a journey that continues today at FCA, where he heads up a team of five responsible for analyzing the cost of the braking system, wheels and other vehicle components. He is one of 5,000 young people who have attended the Automotive Engineering degree program created to train automotive experts and which features a combination of theoretical knowledge, imparted by professors at Politecnico di Torino, and operational skills, taught by FCA personnel for a total of over 900 hours of training per year.
This year, Cosimo was also called upon to be a trainer. “I’ve come full circle,” he jokes. “The value added we provide as engineers already working for the company lies in the practical side of the learning, but also in tutoring and encouraging students to apply projects and ideas in the real world. I’m proud to have helped train young people who dream of being a part of the automotive world while staying faithful to an approach that unites a strong education with critical thinking, open-mindedness and flexibility. That’s exactly what is needed in order to face the challenges of the marketplace, so much so that 95% of the students of the Automotive Engineering program find a job within one year of graduating.”
With electrification, autonomous driving and connected vehicles, and ecological and digital manufacturing, the automotive industry is changing rapidly, and industry experts need to keep pace with that change. This is done through innovation, of course, but also by combining knowledge in new ways in order to come up with effective solutions as and when they are needed. This is why thinking outside the box can make the difference, and who can do that better than an up-and-coming engineer who knows how today’s cars work and can imagine how we will be getting around in the future?

A two-decades-long collaboration

FCA University, Campus

This is why FCA has been collaborating with Politecnico di Torino, investing in education, training and research. The collaboration, which was first established in 1999, was extended to 2022 with the signing of a new agreement for €7 million in December 2018. The degree program in Automotive Engineering – which will now also include lessons with experts in sustainable mobility and artificial intelligence – and the development of numerous research projects in which students have been directly involved are just a couple of the many successful initiatives launched as part of the collaboration. In previous years, 57 such projects were developed ranging from solutions for real-world engineering challenges to the search for new materials.
The agreement also encompasses international programs, including the option for students to complete their degree at the University of Windsor in Canada or at Oakland University in Michigan or to take a dual master’s degree that is recognized internationally. At the same time, Politecnico di Torino will be accepting an increasing number of foreign students, thereby increasing the already significant ratio of one out of every three new enrollments. The final three years of the program are conducted exclusively in English further enhancing its international appeal. Nowadays, it would be unthinkable for engineers to do their work closed off in an office without knowing anything about the society for which they are designing a product or unable to assess the impact of a new technology on the public at large. It takes critical thinking, social responsibility, and teamwork, along with a solid background in the humanities.

Our commitment for university students

FCA University, car

FCA’s belief in youth is demonstrated by the many initiatives we have in place, including “I am FCA – Innovation Award for Millennials by FCA”, a competition that involved a thousand graduates in Economics from six universities in central and southern Italy and their ideas and suggestions on what the car of the future should be like. Then there are events like “Face to Face with FCA”, where Group experts collaborate with teams of university students to design race cars for Formula SAE, and innovation awards such as the Fiat Prize and the Giovanni Agnelli Award, which are given out by the Fiat Research Center to the most intriguing theses of Polish students and specialist programs. Comau offers programs for expert engineers, such as the two-year Manufacturing 4.0 program, as well as for students of other disciplines, such as the degree program in Innovation and Technology Management offered in collaboration with Università Cattolica in Milan.
Finally, some initiatives have practically become an institution, such as the scholarship awards granted each year to hundreds of children of FCA employees who have completed their high school or university degrees and have excelled in their studies. This initiative, which was renamed “Sergio Marchionne Student Achievements Awards” as of last year’s edition, rewards young people and their families for their curiosity, commitment and dedication.

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