Problem situation

Demographic change and digitization are key challenges for companies. The manufacturing sector in particular is also severely affected by a shortage of skilled workers and a loss of experience and knowledge. SMEs in particular rarely have the resources and concrete training approaches to address these problems independently. The employment of older employees and the safeguarding of their experience can make a significant contribution to meeting the demand for skilled workers. Resource-efficient solutions tailored to the needs of SMEs to realize further training independently, to design age-appropriate work processes and to secure experience-based knowledge hold great potential in this respect. However, appropriate framework conditions must be created for this, since individualization of products places high demands on employees, particularly in the construction supply sector.

Joint project objective

The overall objective of the API-KMU project is to enable age-appropriate, process-oriented and interactive further training in existing companies and the safeguarding of experience-based knowledge with the help of concrete approaches and methods or through a learning and tutor system by the SMEs themselves. As a result, companies will be able to proactively address demographic change and digitization-induced challenges at various levels. Concrete results of the joint project are 1. a process-oriented tutor system that addresses the learning and competence requirements of older employees, 2. a further training approach and toolbox for the diagnosis, implementation and management of in-company qualification, 3. Practical deployment concepts that enable SMEs to identify training needs, design age-appropriate, work- and process-related training programs, and secure experiential knowledge, 4. Modified work processes in the partner SMEs in which workplaces offer more ergonomics for age-appropriate work and are thus also suitable for part-time work.


First, processes, technologies, tasks and necessary competencies in the application scenarios (1) processing of natural stones, (2) window production are recorded by means of BAG analyses, interviews and field observations in order to derive criteria for age-appropriate, process-oriented and digitalIe continuing education. Based on this, work environments and interfaces of human-machine interaction will be designed in an age-appropriate manner using the criteria of work conducive to learning, as well as the approach for passing on experiential knowledge and the tutor system will be developed. In parallel, based on subject and work process oriented approaches, a further education approach including a toolbox for the survey, conception, implementation and evaluation of further education will be created. Tutor system, training approach and methods of the toolbox will then be tested and further developed in a learning factory and a FabLab. Finally, they will be tested in practice in the user companies and the results will be generalized.

Utilization of results

The results of the joint project enable employees to acquire new skills and qualifications. Older employees benefit from higher employment opportunities through age-appropriate work processes. The easily applicable project results enable SMEs to proactively and resource-efficiently counteract shortages of skilled workers and demographic change through age-appropriate training as well as through the systematic transfer of experience and knowledge. The result is a transferable toolbox that can be integrated on a low-threshold basis thanks to its modular structure. This makes it possible to use the results in other sectors, for example in machine production, the textile industry and food processing.

Project consortium

The BMBF-funded project brings together expertise and experience from operational practice as well as theoretical and empirical perspectives from science in order to achieve the set project goals:

PartnerRole in the projectContact
Chair of Information Systems, Processes and Systems at the University of PotsdamProject coordination and research workLSWI
Institute for Vocational and General Education at KITResearchIBAP
rooom AGTechnical enablerrooom AG
IHK project company mbh East BrandenburgMultiplierIHK-Projekt Gesellschaft
Intraform Fenster-Systemtechnik GmbHIndustrial userIntraform GmbH
SPP Service Projekt Potsdam GmbHIndustrial userSPP GmbH

Contact person

The contact person in the project is Mr. Malte Teichmann.


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