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His findings are supported by the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office Destatis : about 34,700 fewer young people began studies in mechanical engineering/process engineering in 2017. This corresponds to a decrease of 4.7% compared to the previous year. And graduates of these study programs would have no problem "finding an adequate and well-paid job," adds Prof. Schreiner. He sees one reason for the declining interest in digitization-related reporting. Even though products increasingly feature digital and electronic components, they are ultimately designed, developed and produced as a system by mechanical engineers. Companies are particularly in need of graduates who can communicate with computer scientists and electrical engineers.

Could the following model offer a solution? The University of Applied Sciences Ruhr-West will offer an engineering study program reserved for women in the coming winter semester. This should facilitate access for women. While they can study "among themselves" during the first four semesters, from the fifth semester onwards they will be merged with the conventional study program. Prof. Alexandra Dorschu told the " Neue Ruhr Zeitung " newspaper that initial reactions were not only positive: some people criticized the project as "unnecessary" or "discriminatory". Apparently the criticism nevertheless quickly subsided once she explained the concept in more detail.