Volkswagen is supporting the construction and operation of a free programming school in Wolfsburg. The association called “Verein 42Wolfsburg e.V.” is setting up an IT hotbed called “42Wolfsburg” in cooperation with the private, nonprofit École 42 based in France. It is planned to open the coding school in Markthalle Wolfsburg in early 2021. Volkswagen will be donating €3.7 million in the first year, and a further two million euros annually in the following years. Next year, up to 600 students are already expected to be training in Wolfsburg’s Markthalle under an innovative learning concept with no teachers or formal classes. They will learn their skills under a peer-learning concept.
Demand for well-trained IT specialists is growing as digitalization advances. That is why Volkswagen is supporting the development of the innovative programming school. The Board Member for Human Resources, Gunnar Kilian, said: “We are breaking new ground in IT education in Germany in cooperation with 42Wolfsburg e.V. and the 42Wolfsburg IT hotbed. The digital transformation at Volkswagen and in Germany needs experts who can solve problems with creativity and commitment. That is why the selection process for 42Wolfsburg is not based on academic qualifications, but on talent and motivation. Graduates of the École 42 programming school and its international branches are much sought-after in the IT industry thanks to their excellent practical skills.”
Klaus Mohrs, Mayor of the City of Wolfsburg, commented: “I am delighted that 600 young people will be educated in our Markthalle in future. The central location very close to the main railway station and downtown Wolfsburg is ideal. I very much welcome the fact that the students are selected based on motivation rather than academic qualifications or social and cultural origin.”
Like École 42 in Paris, candidates applying for the tuition-free places at 42Wolfsburg do not need school or university qualifications and selection is not based on age, gender or origin. The pedagogical concept differs from that practised at conventional colleges: The programmers of tomorrow are schooled without teachers or formal classes, instead they are educated in a peer-to-peer learning environment and through ever more complex projects. The peer-learning principle encourages practice-oriented learning, where students learn from and with one another. This encourages the professional development of both lifelong learning skills and social competence. The school is open 24/7 and offers students a hardware lab, a kitchen, communal rooms and rest areas in addition to the IT learning environment. With its donation, Volkswagen is supporting this very new and innovative approach that is to complement the higher education landscape in the field of IT.
Talent and motivation are what count in the École 42 selection process. To qualify for entry, student must first pass an online aptitude test that enables them to take part in one of the four key selection processes involving practice-oriented projects on campus. The best candidates from this stage, known as the “piscine”, are offered a place at École 42 to train over a period of three to five years. The “piscines” for 42Wolfsburg are scheduled for January, February and March, so that training, initially with 150 students, can start in May 2021. It is hoped to register 600 students during the course of 2021.
Managing Director of 42Wolfsburg will be Dr. Max Senges, who has in-depth professional experience in both research and teaching, and worked with Google in Berlin and Silicon Valley for ten years. The school’s sponsoring body is 42Wolfsburg e.V.
The IT school established in 2013 is headquartered in Paris. École 42 now has campuses at 33 further locations worldwide, including California, Finland, Netherlands, Brazil, Indonesia, Armenia, Japan, Jordan, Columbia, Spain, Canada, Italy, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Belgium, Russia and Morocco. There are some 10,000 École 42 students worldwide.