top of page

Talking to each other, not about each other


For the second year in succession, 30 selected young tech talents from all over Germany were invited to attend the 14th German Engineering Summit on November 7 and 8 in Berlin, which drew a record number of visitors. They had a chance there to discuss current issues at eye level with top decision-makers from the engineering industry as well as from science and politics. Their tickets and their stay in Berlin were once again sponsored by the Wittenstein Foundation.

Over 1400 applications from students of mechanical and electrical engineering and computer science were received by the organizer, the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), for this networking event at what is German industry’s leading congress. 30 of these applicants were given the opportunity to discuss and network with high-profile executives and CEOs as well as representatives of the VDMA Young Entrepreneurs Circle in the framework of a BarCamp. The students were also able to listen live to speeches by Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Dr Robert Habeck as well as Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner.

Engineering industry meets Gen Z

More than 95% of VDMA member companies are suffering from an acute shortage of skilled labor, with one in ten training places not being filled last year. To counteract this ever-increasing gap, and at the same time better understand the needs and wishes of Generation Z, a number of business enterprises sought dialogue with young talents at the German Engineering Summit for the second year in succession. It was the participants themselves who decided which topics they wanted to discuss in depth in small groups – instead of working their way through a ready-made agenda, they were urged to submit various topics for the BarCamp, which were subsequently put to the vote. Both sides were primarily concerned with aspects like willingness to take on responsibility, prospects for success and development, interaction with talented young people and work organization in times of globalization and digitalization.

Exchange at eye level

It wasn’t only the students who were able to gain plenty of insights during the two-day event – the business representatives also returned to their respective companies with fresh momentum: “As a manager, I realized today that it’s very much up to us to create perspectives, so that young people are keen to take on responsibility. The best approach is to just let the youngsters get on with it, give them timely feedback and show appreciation, but also point out when something could be done better. I was galvanized by the openness and motivation of today’s participants and I found the dialogue inspirational”, said Dr Martin Schönheit (Dr Schönheit + P. Consulting Engineering GmbH). The day wound up with the exclusive VDMA evening event, which the students were also invited to take part in and intensify the new contacts they had made previously.

Shifts in perspective create enthusiasm

Dr Anna-Katharina Wittenstein, a member of the Board of Trustees and representative of the Wittenstein Foundation at the student event, willingly agreed to sponsor the 30 two-day tickets again this year: “Through the Wittenstein Foundation, we want to do our part in ensuring that enough specialists are trained while at the same time enabling them to engage in an interdisciplinary debate. For the future – when it comes to mastering the major transformations of our time – it will above all be vital not to train specialists with one-sided qualifications but to enable young people to engage with each other across different disciplines as a starting point for developing collaborative solutions together.” In her final summing-up, she particularly stressed the importance of inspiring young people’s enthusiasm for engineering, showing them prospects and opportunities for development, and overcoming old prejudices against an established industry.


Download PDF • 447KB

(© VDMA)

For the second year in succession, sponsorship by the Wittenstein Foundation enabled 30 students from the fields of mechanical and electrical engineering and computer science to attend the German Engineering Summit in Berlin.

Download ZIP • 5.63MB

(© VDMA)

Dr Anna-Katharina Wittenstein, a member of the Board of Trustees and representative of the Wittenstein Foundation at the student event, willingly agreed to sponsor the 30 two-day tickets again this year.

Download ZIP • 4.38MB


(© VDMA)

The round table with outstanding business personalities was the highlight for the technology students.

Download ZIP • 5.46MB
Download ZIP • 4.61MB
Download ZIP • 4.74MB
Download ZIP • 6.64MB


bottom of page