Orthopaedic footwear technology competence center launched

(Photo: AdobeStock/ipopba)

The profession of pedorthics must and should continue to be developed. To this end, it is necessary to transfer new knowledge, new technologies and new findings from science to the trade as quickly and practically as possible. Since last year, this task has been in the hands of a newly created competence center in Germany.

Back in 2013, the Association for the Promotion of Research and Education Management (bifo-ost) was founded - under the auspices of the German Central Association of Orthopaedic Shoe Technology (ZVOS) and with the cooperation of the school boards of the master schools in Langen, Siebenlehn, Hanover, the Münster University of Applied Sciences, the International Association of Orthopaedic Shoemakers (IVO) and the Association of Technical Orthopaedics (VTO). The aim of the association is the further development of the health care craft of pedorthics and the transfer of knowledge from research and science to this craft. The competence centers for which funding has been applied for from the Federal Ministry of Economics and the states of Hesse, Saxony and Lower Saxony play a key role here.  Following the approval of the funds in 2020, the competence centers could now begin their work.

The three competence centers in Hanover, Langen and Siebenlehn each focus on different areas. In Hanover, at the Bundesfachschule Orthopädieschuhtechnik (BfO), the focus on modern diagnostics and practice-relevant analytics is being established. The Langen location at the Orthopedic Shoe Technology Southwest Training Center (BOSS) stands for the expansion of knowledge transfer and business management competence. The location at the Meisterschule Siebenlehn (MSS) is responsible for the further development of manufacturing processes and technologies in the trade.

The head of the competence center is Dr. Annette Kerkhoff (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). She is a trained orthopedic shoemaker and holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Münster University of Applied Sciences (Technical Orthopedics) and earned her Master of Science degree from JLU Giessen (Biomechanics-Motor Movement Analysis). She received her doctorate in sports science and was subsequently a lecturer at Münster UAS.

The competence center is to cooperate with manufacturers, universities, research institutes and companies. The aim is to translate new developments in professional practice into teaching and learning concepts, to advise companies and thereby accelerate the transfer of new technologies and new processes into operational practice.

The first cross-location topic of the competence centers is the implementation of new knowledge in the didactics of vocational training. Since each of the sites is closely linked to the respective local master school, it is possible to influence current knowledge transfer via short channels.

The Corona Pandemic in particular demonstrates the value of a modern and up-to-date concept for imparting learning content at all levels of the course, for example to bridge teaching constraints. Digital distance learning has already taken place at the BOSS, as well as at the MSS, with positive feedback.

Due to the constant development of the trade, however, the learning content also needs to be constantly adapted. This applies to the content of both basic training and master craftsman training. In addition, it is necessary to examine what knowledge should also be imparted now and in the future, for example in the context of courses and further training.

In order to disseminate the new knowledge as widely as possible in the sector, seminars and further training courses will be offered to promote lifelong learning in the skilled trades and make it attractive.