Dr. Ulrike Freundlieb, mayor for education, children, youth and health for the city of Mannheim, praised the three winning teams. “Young people have fresh, creative ideas for our future. I am therefore very interested to see young people helping to shape the society of tomorrow. YES! is an excellent opportunity for high school students to get involved and for us in the local authorities to listen to what young people have to say,” said Dr. Ulrike Freundlieb at the event.
Around 100 high school students from the states of Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland came to ZEW to present their solutions to current global economic issues and to discuss them with experts in the field. At the event, ZEW President Professor Achim Wambach explained the significance of YES!: “Innovative ideas come from innovative thinkers. It is important that the politics of tomorrow listen to the young people of today and talk to them about their ideas and projects.”
Three high school teams and their ideas advance to the final
Out of the eight different ideas presented at the regional final, three were voted the best by the students in attendance and went through to the final. One of the YES! finalists, the team from the Otto Schott Gymnasium in Mainz, impressed the audience with a project related to e-government, the digitisation of public services. The team’s proposed solution involved a citizen-oriented administrative assistant to simplify and reduce the number of steps in digital administrative services.
Another of the finalists, the team from the Saarpfalz Gymnasium in Homburg, looked at ways to encourage digitisation in firms. The team’s proposal of a “digital certificate” for high school students as evidence of an individual’s digital competency could serve as one way to provide children and young people with the digital qualifications they need for the labour market early on.
The third idea to advance to the final came from the Fritz Erler Schule in Pforzheim, who devised a supportive network run by young people for young people to tackle child poverty in an efficient way.
All the teams have spent the last several months preparing their solutions for the regional final in Mannheim, with the support of experts at ZEW. The regional final was the second YES! – Young Economic Summit event to be held in Mannheim this year following the kick-off event back in February. The winning teams from the Southwest will go up against the winners from the other three regions at the YES! final, which is set to take place in Hamburg in September 2018.