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Non-profit coding school “42 Wolfsburg” will start operations on May 11 with 170 students from over 30 countries. As early as next year, up to 600 students will be trained to be software developers at the Markthalle in Wolfsburg. “42 Wolfsburg” is the latest offshoot of the talent factory “42” founded in Paris in 2013. The innovative educational model of the worldwide “42” network relies on new, creative forms of IT training without admission restrictions, professors, or lectures. Volkswagen is supporting “42 Wolfsburg” with EUR 3.7 million in the first year and a further two million euros annually in the following years. The goal is to “break new ground in IT education so that graduates have all the tools they need to creatively shape the future of zero-emission, digital mobility,” said Volkswagen Board Member for Human Resources Gunnar Kilian and Ralph Linde, Head of Volkswagen Group Academy & President of 42 Wolfsburg e.V., in Wolfsburg on Monday. Other partners of “42 Wolfsburg”, in addition to SMEs and civil society organizations such as the ReDi School for refugees, include Porsche, Microsoft, Google, and Red Hat.

“Our software expertise will determine how quickly and sustainably Volkswagen will make the leap into the digital age. For this, future-oriented qualifications are an important pillar, and here we are consciously breaking new ground. We are proud to have played a big part in bringing the programming school “42” to Wolfsburg. In making this commitment to “42 Wolfsburg” we are supporting innovative forms of learning and the next generation of digital experts, who will then also help shape the future of mobility at Volkswagen,” Kilian elaborated.

“42 Wolfsburg” will be the flagship for automotive software development within the “42” network. This specialization will be accompanied by a number of programs that have been developed exclusively for “42 Wolfsburg”. One of these is a dedicated fellowship program designed to bring students together with experts from science and industry. Another special feature of “42 Wolfsburg” is the FabLab – an open research and development laboratory that will give students the opportunity to learn software and hardware development experimentally.

Sophie Viger, CEO of 42 and its international network: “We have always been driven by the desire to create the best schools in the world, by scaling the model that has made us successful. Today with 42 Wolfsburg, we are taking another step in succeeding in this challenge. As a pioneer of digital schools, we are staying ahead of the curve with our international network, while remaining true to our DNA and the values that drive us, without compromising on educational excellence.”

Hubertus Heil, Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs: “Many training offerings are becoming more digital. The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have also sparked a development here that needs to be taken up and developed further. The successes of the worldwide 42 schools show that there is also demand in the business community for the many skills students acquire in the 42 Wolfsburg programming school. We need a good and diverse range of educational opportunities in our country.”

Stephan Weil, Minister-President of the State of Lower Saxony: “The programming school 42 whets your appetite for the future. It’s a fresh new way of winning bright minds who can shape the digital transformation. VW is making good strides here toward achieving a leading edge as a carmaker by promoting education.”

Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Minister for Economic Affairs, Labor, Transport, and Digitalisation: “Well-qualified IT specialists are vital to the future competitiveness and innovativeness of our companies. With its low admission barriers, 42 Wolfsburg helps foster IT talents, whether lateral entrants or school or university dropouts. This concept, which is new to the German STEM education landscape, shows that unconventional educational pathways also lead to the desired goal – and further drive digitalization of our economy and society.”

Klaus Mohrs, Mayor of the City of Wolfsburg: “I’m delighted that students working on innovative IT concepts come to Wolfsburg from all over Europe. That’s a great boost for the Smart City of Wolfsburg and significantly enhances the educational opportunities we offer young people. The programming school also promotes the training of IT specialists directly at the Volkswagen Group’s headquarters and so supports the company’s digital transformation.”

Dr. Max Senges, CEO and Rector “42 Wolfsburg”: “With 42, we are bringing an answer to some of the big questions of our time to Germany. How do we want to reshape education, co-determination, sustainability, and technological progress post-Corona? We believe that technology and innovation can be developed responsibly, relying on open, collaborative formats to bring us and the next generation of learners together.“

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