• Audi donating 960,000 euros to the nonprofit 42Heilbronn and 42Wolfsburg IT schools for a multiyear scholarship program.
  • In doing so, the company is supporting unconventional training for the IT specialists of tomorrow and the digital transformation of the German automotive industry.
  • “The schools open up educational opportunities for talented, IT-savvy individuals and locate important expertise in our regions,” said Sabine Maassen, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources and Organization at AUDI AG.
Audi supporting 42Heilbronn and 42Wolfsburg programming schools

Audi is donating nearly one million euros to the 42Heilbronn and 42Wolfsburg programming schools. The funds will go toward a four-year scholarship program at the privately funded, nonprofit IT schools. In doing so, the company is strengthening the regional educational environments for the digital transformation of the German automotive industry and an innovative vocational training program. In addition, the scholarships give financially and socially disadvantaged students the opportunity to receive highly qualified training in professional fields of the future.

The slogan of the tuition-free École 42 IT schools is “born2code,” and fittingly, they offer unconventional and industry-leading IT training. Neither the students’ grades in school nor their previous work experience play a role in the admissions process. Instead of formal criteria, prospective students of different age groups must pass through an intensive selection process by demonstrating their motivation, talent, and a willingness to engage in lifelong learning. At the heart of the training system is a project-based, peer-to-peer learning model – without professors or lectures. Instead, students teach themselves the training material in independent learning groups. They also support and evaluate each other. This not only teaches them coding skills, but also soft skills such as communication and the ability to work in a team.

Audi supports innovative training system

As a good corporate citizen, Audi is promoting educational opportunities for financially and socially disadvantaged students at a top IT school by funding its internal scholarship program. For this purpose, Audi will be donating a total of 960,000 euros over the next four years. The two schools are responsible for deciding who will receive the 15 scholarships at 42Heilbronn and the five scholarships at 42Wolfsburg each year.

“Independent and self-directed learning has always played an important role at Audi. The innovative approach to training taken by the ‘42 schools’ fits in perfectly with our understanding of lifelong learning. After all, the digital transformation in the automotive industry will only succeed if all employees are willing to embrace and work on their own personal and professional development,” commented Sabine Maassen, Member of the Board of Management for Human Resources and Organization at AUDI AG.

Talent factory for the regions and the German automotive industry

But it’s not just the training program that is a good fit. 42Wolfsburg focuses on the field of “IT in the vehicle,” while 42Heilbronn focuses on “IT in the factory.” Both areas of focus are reflected in Audi's digitalization efforts – the company is working to build the world’s leading network of expertise for digital factory transformation and sustainable innovation as part of its “Automotive Initiative 2025” (AI25). To this end, Audi Neckarsulm will play a pivotal role as a pilot factory and real-world laboratory. Through the interdisciplinary approach of AI25, employees at all levels are empowered to actively shape digital transformation processes. Employee training plays a special role in this context. In this way, the site is further expanding its comprehensive expertise in production IT for large-scale and small-scale production – in the direct vicinity of the 42Heilbronn talent factory on the educational campus there.

“The programming schools open up educational opportunities for talented, IT-savvy individuals and locate important expertise in our regions. This means that through our donation, we’re not only helping train the outstanding specialists of tomorrow. As a company, we are also assuming responsibility for local developments in key future fields and strengthening our community,” said Maassen.

“We can only drive the digital transformation forward together”

“We are delighted to welcome Audi, a strong partner from the automotive industry,” said Thomas Bornheim, general manager of 42Heilbronn. “We can only drive the digital transformation in Germany forward together,” added Max Senges, general manager of 42Wolfsburg.

Over the long term, Audi and the two schools are aiming to intensify their partnership. Internship opportunities for students, tech days to promote professional networking and knowledge sharing, joint work on innovative topics within the framework of AI25, and joint programming competitions (known as hackathons) are all conceivable.

École 42 – a global network

The IT school “42” has its origins in Paris, where the first campus was founded in 2013. In the meantime, the school now has 35 campuses in 22 countries. The only locations in Germany so far are in Heilbronn and Wolfsburg, and another is currently being established in Berlin. Volkswagen is a founding partner of 42Wolfsburg, and is now also sponsoring the coding school in the capital city together with its software subsidiary CARIAD. The first students at 42Berlin are scheduled to start in the summer of 2022. As a result of synergies across the group, even more IT talent can be supported in different locations.

The more than 12,000 students worldwide each complete a program lasting an average of three years, after which they are considered highly qualified IT specialists.