07 January 2009: Education: “We need to take care of it in time“

his year’s economic panel in the district hall of Borken focussed on the topic “The district of Borken as education region”. Within the scope of a podium discussion, five successful entrepreneurs of the district explained both their strategies and articulated what they expect and demand both from politics and administration.

Dr. Christoph Schwemmlein, managing director of Klöcker Bros. situated in Borken, underlined that we need to set up cooperation schemes with schools and universities at an early stage. Schwemmlein: “Since we are active ourselves, we usually find the specialists we need”. For instance, he invites fourth graders to Klöcker and thus gives them the chance to get an idea on the working world in a globally operating company. He believes that internships and thesis papers allow to get to know students and to involve them via concrete projects.

The managing director of Grunewald Ltd., Mr. Christian Grunewald, equally considers the cooperation with universities to be crucially important. He additionally highlighted that jobs in medium-sized companies often are a lot more interesting and safer compared to big businesses. Grunewald: “It is especially the young graduates who are not sufficiently aware of this fact”.

Andreas Grochowiak, managing director of the company B. Teupen Maschinenbau GmbH in Gronau, pointed out that dynamically growing medium-sized businesses more and more are in need of qualified specialists who were not (yet) needed in the past. “An enterprise trying to attract such qualified employees needs to offer an attractive social and living environment. As soon as it comes to moving, the prospect’s family of course will have a say in that as well”. “Unfortunately, the Münsterland still has a poor image”, Gerd Kaspari, the managing director of the company AS Antriebstechnik und Service Ltd. being situated in Reken, states. It is fairly unknown how efficient and innovative medium-sized business in the Münsterland really are. He insistently criticized the schools not attaching enough importance to technique and sciences: “These are exactly the skills the young people will need in their jobs later on”.

Image plays the key role

Mr. Wolfgang Klar, the managing director of epro Ltd. in Gronau, agreed that it is the image and the working environment which play the key role in order to be considered as an attractive employer: “The high technical potential in our region and the good social structure in the Münsterland are important pros, which we need to be display in a proper way”.

The discussion partners mentioned several important starting points to assure a foresighted strategy in order to compete with other regions for employees. These are close cooperation schemes with universities, good and frequent contacts with schools and classes, an attractive social and living environment for the families, a considerably higher technically-oriented range of subjects, an improved image of the region being economically efficient, innovative and dynamic, better international competencies, in particular in terms of language skills, and a higher social appreciation of technically-oriented jobs. The entrepreneurs explicitly pointed out that not only politics and administration or schools and universities are to set up corresponding concepts and contacts, but also the companies themselves. We need a sustainable strategy for the recruitment, development and binding of employees.

Source: Journal “Wirtschaft aktuell” / January 2009