SUPPORT AND INSPIRE

24.11.2014

Children need two things,” said the great German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “roots and wings”. Two BARTEC apprentices, Sandra and Jenny, took this idea to heart as they helped children explore and discover the adult world at the “Kinderspielstadt” (children’s play town...

Children need two things,” said the great German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “roots and wings”. Two BARTEC apprentices, Sandra and Jenny, took this idea to heart as they helped children explore and discover the adult world at the “Kinderspielstadt” (children’s play town) in Bad Mergentheim.


Living two weeks as a grown-up

The event takes place every year during the summer holidays and offers around 400 primary school pupils the chance to try out 50 different careers and experience what it’s like to be part of a responsible and functioning community. For two weeks, the 7–13 year-olds live and work in their own little town on the school grounds in the Au region of Bad Mergentheim. Here, they take up jobs in their own bakery, bank and police force, alongside a theatre, radio and TV station. Just like adults, they take joint decisions and give up a portion of their own currency, the “pebble”, as tax.

This year, the young citizens of the town were even allowed behind the wheel. Even though they were only “driving” pedal carts and bicycles, Jenny and Sandra had their hands full preparing the youngsters for their driving test. “The boys in particular liked to break the traffic rules”, explains Sandra. “But it was great fun and some of the kids were so thrilled by the driving school that they applied to me the day before to be helpers.” The town’s police force also lent a hand, making sure that everyone wore helmets, checking driving licences and ensuring that people behaved properly at zebra crossings. “It is so fantastic to see how the children grow into their roles”, beams Jenny. “Every year they are so enthusiastic.”

The residents of the children’s town even elect their own representatives. This year’s mayors, Vincent and Salina, were voted into office on the back of a popular manifesto, with a water fight top priority. Other policies on the list include plans for a fashion show and football match.


More girls in technical careers

While some school pupils are getting their first taste of adult life, interest for technical careers is growing among girls in the region. With its annually held Girls’ Day, BARTEC aims to inspire female pupils to pursue currently male-dominated careers, in which women make up less than 40 percent of workers. This year, six girls aged between ten and fourteen were able to get an impression of the various departments at BARTEC’s headquarters. In the training workshop, the inquisitive youngsters first learned about the various machines before milling their names into brass signs. At first the girls were supported by Wilhelm Ruck, Training Manager for Industrial Mechanics, but they were eventually able to work on their own. “My favourite bit was making the little figurines out of wire with pliers”, says Maike from the Deutsch-Orden-Gymnasium in Bad Mergentheim.


Home away from home

Speaking of promoting talented youngsters, BARTEC also lends its support to the development programme of the “Wirtschaftsjunioren”, an organisation that supports young managers and businesspeople. One recent beneficiary of this support was high school student Leonie Burkert, winner of the 2014 development programme prize. She completed an internship in Barcelona, financed by BARTEC. Even months after her return, Leonie is still beaming about her time in the lively and colourful Catalan capital. “For me, Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe,” recalls the prize winner, who used the internship abroad to find a direction for her career. From the small but central apartment that she shared during her internship with a young woman from Argentina, Leonie commuted every morning with the metro to Cornella, home to the local BARTEC subsidiary. Her duties included transferring data from SAP to the CRM system, updating price lists and managing e-mail contact lists. The future student also got to know many of the everyday processes that go on in a business. Almost on the side, Leonie and her colleagues taught each other their respective languages.

Leonie puts the fact that she felt at home so quickly down to the welcoming openness that she encountered from the BARTEC team. “In our lunch breaks, we talked about politics, family and cultural differences. Everyone was really friendly, funny and so willing to help”, she recalls happily. “Right away, I felt I was in good hands and got to know some of the city’s most beautiful spots after just a few days.”