A state-wide network for continuing education

Within the framework of the project “Hochschulweiterbildung@BW” (“continuing education at higher education institutions in Baden-Württemberg”), a first network meeting of all 48 state-owned higher education institutions took place at the University of Stuttgart. The Vice Rector for Teaching and Continuing Education, Prof. Frank Gießelmann, and Valerie Alvermann from the Coordination of Scientific Further Education (KWW) participated on behalf of the University of Stuttgart.
[Photo: Sebastian Semmer ]

In 2021, the state of Baden-Württemberg launched a continuing-education campaign with the “Hochschulweiterbildung@BW” project. The project brings into focus lifelong learning and further training for employees in order to strengthen future viability and find new solution strategies for topics such as digitalization and new mobility.

The project places great importance on the networking of interested parties, companies, and higher education institutions. Therefore, a new state-wide network was established: Regional and specialist networking centers were established at 25 higher education institutions in Baden-Württemberg. Valerie Alvermann from the KWW at the Center for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning is the regional and specialist networking officer at the University of Stuttgart and works in close cooperation with colleagues from the other higher education institutions. With the “Hochschulweiterbildung@BW” project, the courses of all state-owned higher education institutions offered in the field of further training and continuing education are to be pooled and presented on a single platform.

In addition to regional networking, seven specialist clusters are concerned with topics relevant to the future, such as sustainability and digital transformation. The University of Stuttgart is particularly involved in the specialist clusters on digital transformation, data science, AI sustainability as well as education and society.

Prof. Frank Gießelmann, Vice Rector for Teaching and Continuing Education.

“The project opens a purposeful dialog in order to align the university’s courses offered in continuing education in science with the needs of business and interested parties. In this way, universities can fulfill their continuing-education mandate in line with demand and make a substantial contribution to the state’s continuing-education campaign,” says Prof. Frank Gießelmann, who is the Vice Rector for Teaching and Continuing Education.

In the interview, Valerie Alvermann talks about the project and her tasks.

What kind of tasks does your job include?

The networking centers bring together the courses offered and those who are interested in continuing education. I facilitate the matching between the courses offered by the universities and the demand for continuing education in science. I give advice and support across the higher education institutions and help people find relevant courses.

My work focuses especially on companies with a need for further training. Many industries are undergoing change, for example due to developments such as Industry 4.0 or sustainability issues. Therefore, there is a strong need for upskilling employees. As a link between companies and universities, I take up the needs of the business community and help to design tailor-made offers. 

What are the next steps?

The next step is to target companies and organizations, associations and chambers of commerce in order to determine the demand on the market in Baden-Württemberg, promote the topic of continuing education in science and the Hochschulentwicklung@BW project, and then design tailor-made programs at the University of Stuttgart in cooperation with relevant stakeholders.

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