Combating the shortage of skilled workers

Dieffenbacher kindles enthusiasm for technical education at ‘Girls' Day’


On Thursday, April 26, 2018, Girls' Day took place at the headquarters of Eppingen-based machinery and plant manufacturer Dieffenbacher. Girls between 11 and 15 years old were given an insight into the production and assembly halls during a tour of the company. In a practical project at the end of the day, they made a solar-powered sunflower with the guidance of Dieffenbacher apprentices. 

By participating in Girls' Day, a nationwide campaign launched in 2001 by the Federal Ministry of Education, Dieffenbacher is specifically introducing girls to careers with a technical focus and generating enthusiasm for technical education.

Dieffenbacher is currently training 46 young people, including six women, three of whom are undertaking technical training or technical studies. This continues the company’s commitment to turning women into experts in a field of technology with the help of suitable training. "Some of the women complemented their technical training with such studies,” explained Dr. Ralph Weber, Head of Human Resources at Dieffenbacher. He cited one example: “A former trainee technical draftswoman gained further qualifications as a mechanical engineer and today works as a plant planner at Dieffenbacher and as a lecturer at the Karlsruhe Cooperative State University,". Dieffenbacher also relies on the knowledge, skills and interest of young women in order to attract young people for future apprenticeships.

At present, the total proportion of women at the Eppingen-based machinery and plant manufacturer is around 18%, a figure that slightly exceeds the industry average of 16.6% cited by the German mechanical engineering industry association, the VDMA. The proportion of women in technical careers, however, is somewhat lower. Dieffenbacher wants to improve this ratio in the future in order to cover medium- and long-term personnel requirements. One example of how successful women can be in technical professions is Denise Spiegel, who works in tender management.

She joined Dieffenbacher in 2001 with a dual degree in Business Administration (Industry) from the vocational university (now Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University). At first she gained experience in commercial activities, such as system purchasing. Today she works in the technical sales department of the wood panel technology division. Together with the respective sales managers, she works through the entire process from costing and quotation preparation through to sales negotiations with the customer. "The job combines both business administration and technology. Technology at Dieffenbacher is something you can feel. I am fascinated by working on the planning and manufacture of huge production plants," says Spiegel, explaining her enthusiasm for the job and her employer. Being one of few women working with lots of men is normal for Denise Spiegel. "I find it very nice that all topics are immediately addressed and approached openly. This is a special feature in a group of men that I personally really appreciate," she says. Anyone who is enthusiastic about technology should also have the courage to choose a technically oriented career or corresponding education, whether man or woman, says Spiegel. "With Dieffenbacher at your side as your employer, you also have great development opportunities for the future as a woman," she sums up.

Girls' Day 2018
Girls’ Day participants together with Dieffenbacher trainers

Girls' Day 2018
Girls’ Day participants work on their solar-powered sunflower

Girls' Day 2018
A Girls’ Day participant presents her sunflower

Denise Spiegel
Denise Spiegel, employee in the tender management of the Wood business unit at Dieffenbacher