As a tradition-rich company, Klöckner & Co regards it as its duty to contribute to the well-being of society. Active involvement in the immediate vicinity of our headquarters and branches is a key aspect and an identitybuilding factor for our Group.
Klöckner & Co has a clear strategy for supporting non-profit projects in Germany: Our aim is to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged children who live in our immediate vicinity over the long term. To achieve this goal, our contribution centers on local projects to educate children and young people or cater to their basic needs in Duisburg, where our headquarters are located.
For ten years now, we have focused on neighborhood work in the Marxloh area of Duisburg, where a large number of residents have a migrant background. In this area, we work with schools, children’s and youth services as well as regional charities. In the interest of continuity and sustainable results, we maintained our longstanding support in the five areas in the reporting year and drove it forward:
1. BASIC NEEDS
Klöckner & Co helps organizations in Marxloh to prepare healthy meals so that children and young people are able to concentrate at school and socialize with each other by sharing a meal, irrespective oftheir backgrounds.
2. ESSENTIAL RENOVATION WORKS
In the past, we have already renovated a youth center and renewed the school yard canopy at an elementary school in cooperation with the City of Duisburg. We provided another elementary school where space was tight with multifunctional rooms. In addition, a school’s grand piano was reinaugurated in the reporting year following its refurbishment thanks to co-financing from Klöckner & Co. In times of homeschooling, schools were supported in the EDP area.
3. STRONG NETWORK
Klöckner & Co frequently makes use of its strong network to enable Marxloh organizations to participate in exclusive projects, such as Bayreuth Festival’s costume competition: Katharina Wagner, the composer Richard Wagner’s great-granddaughter, visited Klöckner & Co’s partner schools in Duisburg. She and the students together designed costumes for the popular children’s opera in Bayreuth. One of the partner schools organized a trip to Bayreuth for the premiere of the children’s opera, where students got to see their costume designs on stage.
4. SCHOOL EDUCATION PROJECTS
Since 2013, Klöckner & Co has supported the German National Scholarship awarded by Roland Berger Foundation. This program promotes gifted children with a strong will to learn who come from socially disadvantaged families, with the aim of guaranteeing them the best possible education opportunities and enabling them to complete upper secondary education and/or go on to university. In this way, we significantly contribute to removing barriers to equal opportunities among people of different social backgrounds. A partner school in Marxloh is also a beneficiary of Teach First Deutschland gemeinnützige GmbH’s “Fellow” project, through which college graduates provide support to disadvantaged school students in their regular lessons. In the reporting year, we expanded our involvement with the “Tausche Bildung für Wohnen e.V.” program, in which six teaching mentors support elementary-school children during lessons, study time and their after-school programs, and also give other neighborhood children a helping hand with their challenging lives outside of their school activities.
5. MUSIC AND CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT
Music and creative development: Joining forces with the Ruhr Piano Festival Foundation, we developed an education project to foster children’s musical and artistic development at different types of schools. First implemented with two schools in 2012, the program has since grown to include six schools with 650 students. In the 2018/2019 school year, the children and teens had 22 performances with audiences totaling nearly 5,000, more than ever before. A total of 730 workshops offered the students opportunities to expand their skills in music and dance. Our musical education work has earned supraregional recognition: After garnering the “Echo Klassik” award presented by Deutsche Phono-Akademie in the “Fostering Young Talent” category in October 2016, as well as the “Junge Ohren Preis” in November 2014, the education program was awarded the renowned “MIXED UP Preis” in 2018. The prize awarded by the Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbildung e.V. (German Federation for Cultural Youth Education) and the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth praised the long-term cooperation across institutions and sectors in the “Long-runner” category. These and other awards are proof positive of our successful cooperation, which is to remain part of our activities going forward.
The integration of refugees into our society is another major concern for us. This notably includes creating employment opportunities. One area with an especially large number of vacancies is the IT sector, which often makes it hard for companies to find qualified programmers. To help refugees with IT skills onto the career ladder, the knowledge they bring with them needs to be enhanced and supplemented in line with the needs of the German labor market in general and our business in particular. Under the umbrella of the "We together" German Industry Integration Initiative, Klöckner & Co therefore supports the ReDI School of Digital Integration in Berlin as main sponsor and provides premises for the project.
ReDI is short for Readiness and Digital Integration. Its students are provided with laptops and can attend beginning and advanced programming courses free of charge. Additionally, students are each assigned a mentor to help them take the course content to a deeper level. Organized networking events make for lively contact with the Berlin and Munich start-up scenes. We also have our own presence in Berlin with kloeckner.i, our Group Center of Competence for Digitalization. When filling new positions, we place special emphasis on recruiting ReDI School graduates. Internships prepare ReDI students for potential permanent employment at kloeckner.i, our digital subsidiary in Berlin.
We are particularly pleased that Klöckner & Co's commitment has resulted in a new cooperation between schools in Duisburg-Marxloh and the ReDI School. ReDI Kids has also been offering programming classes at Berlin schools since the beginning of 2020. This offering was replicated in Marxloh on CEO Gisbert Rühl’s initiative. The concept is designed as a way for the ReDI team to support teachers as they impart digital skills to the students in their own classrooms.
In Germany, we maintain close contact with the European Business School (EBS) and with the University of Duisburg-Essen, where Gisbert Rühl serves as president of the booster club. In addition to high-ranking executives from our Company giving lectures at these two higher education institutions, we take part in dialog events and answer students’ questions. Furthermore, we offer students internships during which they can apply content from their studies to real business situations.
For some years now, we have supported the Germany Scholarship in collaboration with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Primarily directed at talented and high-achieving college students, the scholarship gives consideration to specific family and social circumstances. Our aim here is to provide support so that students can excel both academically and socially as well as within the family.