Curse or blessing for German Small-Medium Enterprises?

The event in behalf of DIE FAMILIENUNTERNEHMER e.V. (German association representing the interests of family-owned businesses) was opened by a cultural program, a guitar ensemble of the municipal music school Solingen (winner of the national competition “Jugend musiziert”) and the magical performance of the ballet dancer Elea Bologna of the ballet school International, which has already won various world titles. This was followed by an exciting and controversial panel discussion by Prof. Dr. Ludger Opgenhoff (Westphalian University of Applied Sciences), Dr. Christian Henke, Managing Director of the Düsseldorf Chamber of Small Industries and Skilled Trades and Mrs. Sandra Rogge, Personnel Manager of the company BIA Kunststoff- und Galvanotechnik. The panel discussion was moderated by Martina Grünewald-Ernst, CEO and founder of LeaCo Lab.

Lothar Grünewald, the Regional Board Member of the business association DIE FAMILIENUNERNEHMER and Managing Director of Grünewald Consulting GmbH, led through the evening.

Nearly 45 guests eagerly followed the discussion and the contributions of the speakers. The setting took place in the council chamber of the old Town Hall, which is the registered office of Grünewald Consulting and LeaCo Lab.

At the beginning, Prof. Dr. Opgenhoff presented the European study reform in a keynote speech. He emphasizes: “Today anyone can study – in more than 19.000 different programs.” This leads to the development of a large number of universities and technical colleges. However, although employability is a core element of the Bologna process, practice transfer is not fundamentally secured. “Many of the students first have to learn how to actually work.”

Dr. Henke sees opportunities and risks in this development for German craftsmanship. “Many students go to university first, but some drop out after a short while and then apply for a vocational training.” Meanwhile the Chamber of Small Industries and Skilled Trades is taking action to promote the attractiveness and forward-looking aspects of craftsmanship by showing presence at professional fairs and universities. The campaign “Ist das noch Handwerk?” (Meaning that internationality, digitization, diversity, humanity are just as much a part of craft today as tradition and the workbench) is targeted at young people.

Mrs. Sandra Rogge also emphasizes that technically interested young talents are very important. “Our company trains employee based on our own needs and requirements. We mainly need practitioners and not just students.” Already existing employees are supported individually in their further development, e.g. in the form of cooperative study programs. She outlined that a shift in values towards a more appreciative attitude regarding vocational training and the resulting perspectives must take place – both in business and in private environment.

Although the speakers agreed on many points, the different perspectives and contributions from the audience ensured a substantial exchange on the topic.

We would like to thank all participants and guests for the exciting evening and look forward to future events.

Here you will find a picture gallery to review the evening.

Your team from LeaCo Lab and Grünewald Consulting.

Lothar Grünewald

Lothar Grünewald

Regional Board Member - DIE FAMILIENUNTERNEHMER e.V.