Governor Kraft seeks dialog with the Junge Initiativkreis Ruhr
Düsseldorf, 25.05.2016 | Press release of the Initiativkreis Ruhr: It was a meeting of a special kind: At the Düsseldorf State Chancellery, young talent from the member companies of the Initiativkreis Ruhr presented their submissions for positive growth in the Ruhr region. Governor Hannelore Kraft was very receptive to the ideas that were expressed by representatives from the young Ruhr region.
The Initiativkreis Ruhr is increasing its focus on the young generation. The opinions, ideas and engagement of young people can provide important impulses for the economic alliance, the political decision-makers in the state and for the entire region. For this reason, the meeting with North-Rhine Westphalia Governor Hannelore Kraft and Transportation Minister Michael Groschek at the State Chancellery centered on the ideas of young employees at the member companies of the Initiativkreis.
True to its mission “Working together for a young Ruhr region”, the alliance of 70 leading companies and institutions is increasing its focus on engaging in a dialog with the generation of young people around 30 years of age. “We want to engage this generation, which will be the main driver behind the economy in ten years time,” says Bernd Tönjes, Moderator of Initiativkreis Ruhr. “They will be the face of the region in the future. Their ideas, impulses and points of view help us to promote the development of the Ruhr region. By working together, we want to make our region even stronger.”
The young representatives already presented their suggestions for continued positive growth in the Ruhr region at the official handover of the moderator mandates on 20 February 2016. The main focus areas at that time were housing, the environment and transportation, work-life balance, the refugee situation and the image of the Ruhr region. During a podium discussion with Hannelore Kraft, the group highlighted some of the issues that concern them on a personal, business and societal level. Afterwards, the Governor announced her intention to engage in a more in-depth discussion of the contents that were presented. “I invited the young talent from the Initiativkreis to my chancellery office because I was very keen to continue this exchange on the future of the Ruhr region. And I am really pleased to see the lively discussions that ensued,” says Governor Hannelore Kraft. “The young people from the Initiativkreis Ruhr have some exciting suggestions, ranging from urban development and housing to traffic infrastructure, the education system, the integration of refugees and the marketing of the Ruhr region.”
Minister Groschek had also extended an invitation. Kraft then invited the new generation, the Initiativkreis moderators Bernd Tönjes and Dr. Thomas A. Lange, as well as Dirk Opalka, Managing Director of Initiativkreis Ruhr GmbH, to a joint meeting at the State Chancellery. The meeting had a clear message: Today's young generation values work-life balance, fair wages and environmental protection. With a view to the Ruhr region, they stand for good education and professional development, the promotion of talent, the willingness to integrate and justice in terms of fair distribution.
Governor Hannelore Kraft emphasized: “The Initiativkreis Ruhr is an important partner in efforts designed to make the Ruhr region fit for the future. The fact that the young generation from the member companies of the Initiativkreis are developing new ideas for a positive future in this region is very important. Constructive and creative - that was my impression of the young talent that came today, and it is exactly those women and men that the Ruhr - and the entire state of North-Rhine Westphalia - needs.”
The young managers presented their ideas as part of a constructive exchange. They suggested that an app that measures the demand for certain local transit connections would be useful for making local public transit more attractive. And buses and trains could run more efficiently. The introduction of a local public transport service, in which buses in selected areas would only drive to certain stops in response to an inquiry from a commuter’s Smartphone, would be a more elaborate project. Other suggestions also include a mentoring program in which young employees visit school classes in the region to talk about their profession and tell the students about their experience. They also believe that joint company daycare facilities between neighboring businesses could also help improve daycare services. They also suggested that a group of 100 high-profile individuals from the region become the face of an image campaign for the Ruhr metropolis. This group could also include “hidden champions” - people that are not immediately associated with the Ruhr region. At the end of the meeting, everyone agreed: The Governor will continue to engage in a dialog with the Junge Initiativkreis Ruhr.
The Initiativkreis Ruhr focuses on concrete future-oriented projects. This business alliance is increasing its efforts to promote young talent and founders in order to secure the pool of skilled labor for the long term, and to raise the profile of the Ruhr region as an attractive place to live and work. To this end, the program of TalentMetropole Ruhr, under which the Initiativkreis bundles its educational activities, will be expanded. As part of the Smart Start project, potential founders of companies also have a chance to exchange ideas with top decision-makers from the region's industry and present their business ideas.