SCHOOLPLATE I + II: Vocational training and qualification measures for the electroplating industry in Thailand

© Fraunhofer IPA

A big thank you to the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for funding the SCHOOLPLATE project.

One key element of SCHOOLPLATE is the demand-driven workflow; therefore, an online company survey was carried out between July - Sep. 2020.
You can find the survey results report here.

Contributing to designing and conducting the survey were the following people:
Eva Hanau, Dominique-Navina Pantke, Klaus Schmid and Prof. Yuttanant Boonyongmaneerat, as well as Dr. Rungroj Chanajaree,
Dr. Thanakrit Chotibhawaris, Dr. Komsak Harachai, Sawalee Saenapitak.


  • The SCHOOLPLATE project, which is, to some extend, the result of the efforts being made by and through ECOPLATE, is a cooperation between the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA Stuttgart, the Metallurgy and Materials Science Research Institute (MMRI) of Chulalongkorn University Bangkok and the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB).

    The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project, which kicked-off on January 1st, 2020. The project will be carried out in two phases. The funding for the first phase was set for the period from January 1st to December 31st, 2020. The second phase started on January 1st, 2021 and is set to last until March 31st, 2023.

    The overall focus of the project lies on implementing sustainable and demand-oriented vocational training measures that provide the Thai electroplating industry with qualified personnel.

    We would like to highlight the involvement of the following team members:

    • Prof. Dr. Yuttanant Boonyongmaneerat, Deputy Director
      Metallurgy and Materials Science Research Institute (MMRI), Chulalongkorn University
    • Dr. Viriyah Chobaomsup, Manager
      Surface Coatings Technology for Metals and Materials Research Unit, MMRI, Chulalongkorn University
    • Dr. Thanakrit Chotibhawaris, Lecturer
      School of Science and Technology, Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University
    • Dr. Stephanie Conein, Senior Technical Advisor
      Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)
    • Eva Hanau, Senior Technical Advisor
      Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)
    • Komsak Harachai, Lecturer
      Industrial Engineering Department, Nakorn Panom University
  • The Thailand Electroplating Industrial Network Association (=TEPNET; formerly known as Thailand Electroplating Professional Network), an industry cluster initiative with a core group consisting of more than 50 companies, was founded in 2015. It combines the three elements industry, education and government, and is striving to:

    • improve the industry’s capability to manufacture flawless, high-quality products at competitive production costs,
    • produce in an environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient way and to
    • contribute to innovation.

    To attain these objectives, the ability to rely on an available and skilled workforce continuously is essential. This was one of the key outcomes of a survey conducted by TEPNET in 2016. It was also mentioned in several internal workshops and discussions that starting in 2017 lasting up to-date. Other issues, such as reducing energy consumption, the efficient use of metals like nickel, zinc, copper and chrome as well as precious metals, correct wastewater treatment and environmental protection, further underline the need for skilled workers.

    At present, though, there are no suitable technical and vocational education and training (=TVET) programs in Thailand capable of covering the industry’s requirements.

    The project therefore aims at supporting the Thai electroplating industry and TEPNET by defining training and education needs, as well as at developing suitable measures that can be effectively anchored within the industry to help reskill and upskill the workforce.

  • Each project phase has a different emphasis:

    • Part I – Exploratory Phase (2020)
    • Part II – Concept & Implementation Phase (2021-2023)

    The main goals of Part I were to define the status quo, to summarize the industry’s needs, and to categorize those needs.

    To attain these objectives, the 2020 core activities included:

    • multiple online expert interviews,
    • an online company survey,
    • an analysis of existing TVET structures & identification of adaptation needs,
    • expert workshops with TEPNET as well as stakeholders, and
    • preparing proposals for the concept phase.

    The underlying research questions in Part I are:

    • Which skills are necessary to improve quality and enable operating job-platers to introduce complex processes?
      (How can education and training help enhance quality?)
    • Why is there a demand for better-trained staff?

    During the second part of the project, both continuing vocational education and training measures (C-VET → for current employees and future career changers) as well as initial vocational education and training measures (I-VET → for future employees) will be discussed and worked on.

  • To ensure that the project is attractive to both the industry as well as non-industrial stakeholders and meanwhile adheres to its aims, an advisory board consisting of six interdisciplinary experts from both cooperating countries has been set up.

    The advisory board consists of three German and three Thai members who represent vocational schools, the electroplating industry and political institutions.

  • German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

    Education and research are the building blocks of the future. With this in mind, the Ministry promotes education, science and research and sees this as an important contribution to securing the country's prosperity. BMBF is also closely involved in legislative processes. (Source: BMBF)


    More information: BMBF

    DLR Project Management Agency (DLR-PT)

    Research, innovation and education – the DLR Project Management Agency has been providing an array of services to assist key decision-makers from government, science, industry and education for over 40 years. As designated worldwide partner, networking opportunities are opened up and international collaborations are encouraged. As part of DLR, the Project Management Agency is a key contributor to DLR’s ‘Science, Innovation and Education’ field of operations. (Source: DLR Projektträger)


    More Information: DLR Project Management Agency (DLR-PT)

    Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)

    BIBB is the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training. Founded in 1970, it is a national and international competence center for vocational education in Germany. Intertwining politics, practice and science, it is responsible for tasks such as counselling the federal government, conducting projects to modernize vocational education and training, generating statistics, establishing education and training standards and is also active at international level. (Source: BIBB)

    More Information: BIBB

    Metallurgy and Materials Science Research Institute (MMRI) at Chulalongkorn University Bangkok

    MMRI is a leading national R&D institute for material science. It plays a vital role in creating knowledge and is a reference for international standards. Its work enhances Thailand’s competitiveness, especially in the industrial sector. (Source: MMRI)


    More information: MMRI

    Thailand Electroplating Industrial Network Association (TEPNET)

    TEPNET is essentially a three-way collaboration between the surface finishing industry, research institutes and government agencies. It was established to increase the level of competitiveness and sustainability of the electroplating industry in Thailand in addition to strengthening the country’s electroplating industry as the regional leader in this area with the capacity to offer high quality services to global businesses (Source: WOTech GbR).


    More Information: Thailand Electroplating Industrial Network Association (TEPNET)

    Thailand Professional Qualification Institute (TPQI)

    TPQI (Public Organization) is a government agency under the supervision of the Prime Minister. The main objective is to promote, support and develop professional qualifications system, support various professional groups to set up the occupational standards, and certify competency according to occupational standards. This creates opportunities for promotion and career advancement both domestically and internationally. Furthermore, TPQI’s professional database and information system support the development of the country's workforce with professional qualifications system, which promote free movement of labor in the ASEAN Economic Community. (Source: TPQI)


    More Information: Thailand Professional Qualification Institute (TPQI)

    Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand (EECO)

    The Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand (EECO) is a vital public agency aiming to encourage investment and to uplift innovation and advanced technology in Thailand for the future generation.
    EECO is the business facilitator that adds value across the entire project lifecycle and coordinates closely and proactively with other public authorities and private sectors to ensure the success of the projects. EECO uses a demand-driven approach and aims to strengthen two learning types. The Work Integrated Learning (Type A) to provide people with a degree as well as the Re-Skill, Up-Skill, New-Skill Scheme (Type B) to provide short courses to the existing workforce. (Source: EECO)

    More Information: Eastern Economic Corridor Office of Thailand (EECO)

    Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA


    Fraunhofer It is the largest research organization for applied research in Europe. As a part of Fraunhofer IPA the Department »Electroplating« covers all aspects concerning the entire industrial manufacturing chain – from the development of new plating materials and related process chains, through failure analysis, right up to the implementation of industrial systems engineering.


    More Information: Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA