1. March 2022 | Magazine:

Niedersachsen Technikum – a model of success The "anniversary cohort" says goodbye

The Niedersachsen Technikum is aimed at young women with an Abitur or Fachabitur who are interested in studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM for short). They can try out studies and everyday work in the STEM field for six months. On Friday, the tenth cohort of Technikantinnen was bid farewell with a digital ceremony.

The Technikantinnen gave their presentations to their fellow Technikantinnen. These were then shown as videos in the final event. Photo credit: Britta Böckmann/TU Braunschweig

“The Niedersachsen Technikum is a model of success,” said Ulrike Wrobel, Head of the Equal Opportunity Office at TU Braunschweig in her welcoming speech. About 90 per cent of all participants had subsequently decided to pursue a technical university degree or technical vocational training. Professor Knut Baumann, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, agreed with this. He pointed out that the programme is known throughout Germany and expressed the wish that even more young women take advantage of the programme. He also referred to the results of an evaluation by the Central Evaluation and Accreditation Agency (ZEvA), which prove the suitability of the Niedersachsen Technikum to attract female STEM students and thus counteract the imbalance.

“An I-can-do-it attitude”

At the Institute for Computer Graphics, the Technikantinnen were able to take part in experiments on motion sickness. Photo credit: Pia Meier/TU Braunschweig

Afterwards, the participants reported on their experiences of the past six months in video clips. These were very wide-ranging: from getting involved in web development for a car park booking system, to quality control in the hot rolling mill during steel production, to testing driver assistance models and systems for accident avoidance on the test track. The variety of projects during the company internships is impressive. All of them were visibly enthusiastic about their practical experience: “I’m taking away an ‘I-can-do-it attitude’,” says Lara about her sense of achievement in the field of web development. A field of work that she had been reluctant about at the beginning.

“It took the pressure off me to make a decision”

The campus rally also took the Technikantinnen to unusual places. Photo credit: Pia Meier/TU Braunschweig

Through the Technikum, the Technikantinnen developed concrete study or vocational training plans. Nevertheless, many of them reported that the pressure was taken off them to make a decision. “I realised through the various experience reports that it is not so relevant what you study, because ultimately you can work where you would enjoy it with any course of study in the STEM field,” says Emely, describing her experiences from the Technikum.

Elisabeth adds: “Technical professions are generally very diverse. There is usually not only one specific course of study in demand, but you always need a combination of people with very different knowledge and skills. That took the pressure off me to make a decision.”

For a sustainable diversity culture

The companies also had their say in the digital farewell. Jan-David Wagner from EDAG Engineering GmbH explained why they have been supporting the Niedersachsen Technikum for ten years: “For us, training young, female specialists is an important building block in establishing a sustainable diversity culture in the STEM fields. Our female technicians go into their studies well prepared, as the combination of practice and theory paired with a supportive network of experts are the ideal prerequisites for a successful start to their careers.”

And what are the next plans of the female engineering graduates? First of all, travel, some say.  And then it’s off to vocational training as an IT application developer or to study electrical engineering, industrial and mechanical engineering, computer science, physics, or even psychology – with a minor in computer science.