zeb has been supporting the JOBLINGE initiative since the end of 2019. "Joining forces to address youth unemployment: courageously thinking ahead against resistance" is the motto under which the JOBLINGE initiative very successfully fights youth unemployment in more than 30 locations all over Germany.
In June 2020, our zeb colleagues Alexander Stolz and Niklas Blümke held a workshop at JOBLINGE in Cologne on the subject of “Basics in economics – speculation". In this interview they tell us about the experience.
The workshop was your first one in cooperation with the JOBLINGE initiative. How did you get started?
Alexander Stolz: That’s right, this was our first workshop and it was a very positive experience! We started with a detailed introduction round – each participant told the group about their hobbies, interests and education or training so far. That way, we got to know the background of all the participants from the JOBLINGE program and their motivation for taking part in the workshop. It was important to us to understand the goals of the young people – after all, participation in the workshop is voluntary. Normally the group size is about 20–25 people. Due to the coronavirus situation, however, only a limited number of participants were allowed, so that we were able to have a more detailed round of introductions.
Can you tell us something about the participants in the JOBLINGE initiative? Who took part in the workshop?
Niklas Blümke: The participants were all between 20 and 24 years old and had very different school qualifications from secondary school to high school diplomas (Abitur). Nevertheless, they all had difficulties in joining the labor market. Some dropped out of their apprenticeships, others finished school and have so far been unlucky with their applications. In the JOBLINGE initiative, experts help them to find the right path for themselves. Within the program, our workshop serves to give young people an insight into new professional fields.
Which topic did you deal with in the workshop and how did it go?
AS: In the workshop we used the topic of speculation to work through a few basics of economics, taking care to make the topic “easily digestible”. We started off with questions like “What is speculation anyway?” and “What kinds of speculation are there?” Once we had clarified these basics, we examined historical speculative crises together with the participants, including the tulip crisis in the 17th century and the real estate / financial crisis in the 21st century. We then discussed common patterns and implications, working through all the content mostly in interaction and discussion with the participants.
Now the subject of speculation is one that most people are not familiar with from school lessons. How did you perceive the atmosphere in the seminar and the interest of the participants?
NB: Many youngsters in the JOBLINGE program hadn’t had any contact with topics from the financial sector before. We therefore presented the topics very carefully so that the participants could work through the contents together with us and understand them even without any previous knowledge. That turned out to be really successful! On the whole, they were very interested, contributed a lot and created a very positive atmosphere. We also took this away as feedback on the workshop: the participants were interested in the topics and gave us a lot of positive comments.
That sounds great! So how much effort did you put into preparing the workshop?
AS: Before the workshop, we prepared a short PowerPoint document on the topics described above with a strong interactive focus. In addition, we were in close coordination with the responsible people at JOBLINGE in Cologne – but this was very much due to the coronavirus situation, because obviously certain rules have to be observed in a face-to-face workshop. But it was absolutely worth it! We have agreed with JOBLINGE that we will hold another seminar in the near future and reuse the material for the new group.