Students and apprentices will be made familiar with the challenges that emerge in companies when the digital transformation proceeds. Their creativity will be mobilised to develop specific solutions for smart production, human resource management and administration.

Students‘ Road to 4.0 offers young talents an innovative learning experience by which they can expand their social skills, acquire knowledge and familiarise themselves with innovative methods of mobilising their creativity. The project is funded by Arconic Foundation and will be implemented in cooperation with the network D.E.M.I.N.G. e.V., which was founded by students at the University of Applied Science Fresenius in Dusseldorf.

„Students Road to 4.0“ will …

  • make students and apprentices familiar with the potential impact of digitisation on the economy, companies and work
  • empower the participants to prepare themselves for the requirements of a digitised economy and work environment
  • activate the students’ and apprentices’ ideas and creativity to find innovative solutions for concrete challenges in the cooperating companies, and
  • support companies in expanding their talent pool

The selected students and apprentices will attend three one-day seminars with lectures, workshops and case studies where they will learn about the various technical, organisational and cultural features and challenges of digital change in companies. In an additional three day design-thinking workshop the participants will collect and specify ideas for how human-resource managers can appropriately deal with concrete challenges arising from the impact of digitisation on the organisational structure of the company and its employees. The solutions they develop will then be tested in the cooperating companies.


D.E.M.I.N.G. e.V. at the Hochschule Fresenius Düsseldorf



Arconic Foundation supports programs that help prepare the 21st century engineering and advanced manufacturing workforce. Arconic Foundation is an independently endowed foundation with assets of approximately $320 million and is the charitable arm of Arconic Inc. – which works in close partnership with customers to solve complex engineering challenges to transform the way we fly, drive, build and power. Through collaboration with our nonprofit partners, our initiatives make quality STEM education opportunities available to students; support engineering and technical skills training through community colleges, technical schools and universities around the world; and help to create access for underrepresented individuals to the STEM fields. The work of Arconic Foundation is further enhanced by the thousands of Arconic employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in their communities. Established in 2016, Arconic Foundation is active in 26 countries around the globe.

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Series of Lecture

On 30 September, more than 30 students and apprentices set off their journey on the „Students‘ Road to 4.0“. They attended their first one-day workshop with three introducing lectures beginning with the individual perspectives of the participants what digitisation actually means. Afterwards they learnt of the general trends and features that the digital change already initiated in the economy and society. Two presentations by company representatives impressively demonstrated how 3D-printing transformed the development and design of aircraft engine components as well as business models in the manufacture of footwear.

On 14 October, in a first lecture the participants of „Students‘ Road to 4.0“ weremade familiar with the visible impact of digitisation on employment and working conditions so far. A second lecture introduced the features that might characterise future workplaces in administration and on the shop floor. Students and apprentices lively debated on crowdworking as a potentially emerging form of new work. A presentation by an IT-expert completed the full-day seminar. He put particular emphasis on data security and data protection as relevant and often neglected issues for operating businesses efficiently when the application of mobile devices, internet platforms etc becomes more prevalent within and across firms.

The third one-day workshop on 18 November 2017 completed the first stage of the Students‘ Road to 4.0 and, thus, the series of introducing lectures and presentations. In a first session, an expert in business ethics at the Cologne Institute for Economic Research and the University of Technology, Arts, Sciences Cologne, presentet the challenge how the individual person can cope with the information overkill and the paradox of choice. In his follow-up session, which was enriched by experimental cooperation games among the participants, the students and trainees learnt of the importance of trust for establishing solid and cooperative relationships in a digitised environment. Finally, Erwin Hoffmann of the Hochschule Fresenius Düsseldorf introduced the features of blended learning and how digitisation offers new opportunities for skill formation. In spring 2018, the second stage of Students‘ Road to 4.0 will start with a series of design-thinking workshops where the participants can develop and test creative solutions for a digitised work environment.

Design-Thinking Workshops


Workshop 1
23. and 24. February 2018

Workshop 2 (fast track)
10. March 2018

Workshop 3
28. April 2018


Oliver Stettes

Dr. Oliver Stettes

Head of the Research Unit Labour and Personnel Economics

Tel+49 221 4981-697

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