The district of Saxon Switzerland / the Eastern Ore Mountains has a thriving economy, but the towns between Wilsdruff and Sebnitz have not escaped the effects of demographic change. As a result, ideas are needed on how the region’s companies can continue to meet their demand for well-trained skilled workers in future. The obvious answer is to draw attention to the attractive living and working conditions in the region; many companies are intensively involved in education and culture.

What does the Saxon Switzerland / Eastern Ore Mountains district offer employees?

Like many other regions, the district of Saxon Switzerland / the Eastern Ore Mountains suffers from young people leaving the area after training to start a family in other parts of Germany. As potential returnees are often more easily tempted by the advantages of their old homeland, the “Heimkehrerbörse” was set up. This information platform provides a full range of guidance and services for anyone thinking of coming back to live and work in the district of Saxon Switzerland / the Eastern Ore Mountains. Anyone who is uninformed or out of touch can find all the information and contact details they need here, quickly and easily.

The website provides returnees with information on all relevant topics, such as work and careers, housing, early years and school places, sports and leisure, events and contact people. The district is even trying out some highly creative ideas. “Jobs with a future in idyllic surroundings” is a flagship project by the Saxon Switzerland regional office of the DEHOGA hotel and restaurant association. Since 2012, schoolchildren in Years 8 and 9 have been invited on a two-day steamship trip down the Elbe, stopping at various hotels to learn about the various careers in the district’s hotel and catering industry.

What does the Saxon Switzerland / Eastern Ore Mountains district offer employers?

At the annual Economic Forum (Wirtschaftstag) for the Saxon Switzerland/Eastern Ore Mountains district, the region’s companies come together for intensive discussion. Particular attention is paid to the tourist industry, which is extremely important in the district. A Tourism Forum is also held every two years to give new impetus to companies in the tourism sector, enabling them to network with one another and with other stakeholders.

As companies are most likely to find prospective workers in the region itself, one obvious step to effectively fulfil future needs for skilled workers is to get businesses cooperating with secondary and vocational schools. That is where the Schools and Industry working group comes in, an established network which supports existing cooperative projects between schools and regional companies and fine-tunes established collaboration models to lastingly improve projects of this kind in the region.

Both the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Chamber of Trade run local consultation days when companies can seek advice on topics such as the succession planning process.

What does the Saxon Switzerland/Eastern Ore Mountains district offer in terms of schools and studying?

Learning is the key to economic growth. With that in mind, there is an annual Education and Training Day (Tag der Ausbildung) in the Saxon Switzerland/Eastern Ore Mountains district. At this regional careers fair, young people can find out what jobs and companies suit them with practical, hands-on activities.

The Saxon Switzerland/Eastern Ore Mountains district council also acts as a regional service provider at “SCHAU REIN!” (TAKE A LOOK!), Saxony’s Open Business Week.

“Unibörse” targets potential students. This higher education forum for the Saxon Switzerland/Eastern Ore Mountains district takes place with the support of traditional Saxon universities, universities of applied science and universities of cooperative education, along with regional companies. An extensive programme of presentations offers schoolchildren who do not want to learn a vocation straight after school information on subject areas, branches of study and higher education options.

The virtual “Business Atlas” enables young people to search for training placements and similar opportunities online, giving them an overview of local job prospects suited to their needs.

The “Otto Lilienthal” vocational school centre serves Freital and Dippoldiswalde. Its central mission as a competence centre is vocational training in various sectors of industry, the trades, business and administration. One highlight is the chance to train as a watchmaker at the Glashütte branch.

Another attractive educational institute is the BSZ Pirna vocational school centre for technology and industry, in whose modern workshops learners can try their hand at various trades.

Photo credits: Frank Richter, Saxon Switzerland/Eastern Ore Mountains district council