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Skilled labor from NRW – a talent pool in a class of its own

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The labor market in NRW is one of the largest and most diverse in Europe, and the density of highly qualified specialists and academics is particularly high here. Young people are educated here at around 70 universities and universities of applied sciences: Year after year, more than 110,000 students earn a university degree – many with a technical, engineering or IT focus.

NRW labor market – one of the most important in Europe

With a population of around 18 million and a workforce of around 9.6 million, NRW is one of the largest and most important labor markets in Europe. It is larger than that of the Netherlands with around 9.4 million and twice as large as that of Belgium with 4.8 million employed persons. Compared to other top European economic regions, NRW scores not only with the size of its labor market, but also with a high density and availability of knowledge and human capital.


NRW's bright minds: Europe's largest talent pool

In Germany, NRW is regarded as the No. 1 pool of skilled workers: No other federal state has as many students at universities as here. They come from all over the world and, after completing their education, form a large, international talent pool right on the spot. Both the domestic business community and international companies at the location benefit from the high availability of these qualified specialists in NRW.

More than 750,000 students More than 100,000 international students 4,700 different study programs 500 STEM study programs More than 110,000 graduates

More than 750,000 students

are currently enrolled at universities in NRW – that's about as many as in the two academic hotspots Greater London and Île-de-France combined.

More than 100,000 international students

are educated at NRW universities, more than in the neighboring Netherlands and Belgium. One in eight students has a foreign passport – the largest group comes from Turkey, followed by China, India and Syria. NRW's educational and innovative strength is also fueled by this international diversity.

4,700 different study programs

are available in NRW. From traditional fields of study such as economics, law and social sciences to STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), art and music – graduates enter the job market with a wide range of educational backgrounds.

500 STEM study programs

form an important focus of the subjects studied in NRW, as most of the training courses have a technical, engineering or IT focus. STEM subjects, together with economics, are particularly popular with international students.

More than 110,000 graduates

complete their studies in NRW year after year. The university location is particularly attractive for students from all over Germany: Every fourth university graduate in Germany was educated in NRW – skilled labor made in NRW secures the growth of numerous companies.

Network of universities in NRW unique in Europe

Network of universities in NRW unique in Europe

In NRW, a broad and excellent network of around 70 universities ensures the training of highly qualified specialists and researchers. There are 14 public universities in the region alone, including two elite universities: RWTH Aachen University and the University of Bonn. NRW also has 16 universities of applied sciences under public law, seven state colleges of art and music, 25 recognized private and church colleges and five administrative colleges.

14 clusters of excellence offer cutting-edge research and teaching. The clusters of excellence provide project-based funding for internationally competitive fields of research at universities or in university networks. This enables scientists to recruit top international researchers and at the same time train excellent young researchers. Often, different disciplines and institutions work together on one research project.

International schools and cultural diversity in NRW

The choice of schools in NRW is also intercultural: Seven international and eleven foreign schools lay the foundation for globally oriented educational paths and are an important location asset for the families of company employees from all over the world. 

International schools are educational institutions run by private sponsors. Here, students can obtain internationally recognized degrees in order to gain access to the numerous universities and courses of study. 

In addition, there are also schools from different countries of origin, such as France or Japan, where the organization, teaching and school regulations correspond to the respective country – students are prepared here for the respective national qualifications.

Personnel development in NRW: talent advancement in the dual system

German vocational training enjoys a very good reputation internationally. The combination of theory and practice prepares trainees optimally for their future working lives. Prestigious qualifications ensure the quality of the training – and if skilled workers want to continue or further their education, NRW is also the right place for them.

Well educated in theory and practice

The dual education system combines practical training in a company with the teaching of theoretical knowledge in a vocational school. Training in the company ensures practical relevance right from the start: apprentices learn about the latest technical developments here. Parallel to this, the vocational school provides the theoretical background to the activities in the company.

At the end of vocational training, an examination set by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the Chamber of Crafts ensures the comparability of different qualifications. In this way, Germany ensures a consistently high level of training for all workers. Many highly developed companies in NRW produce excellently trained skilled workers for precisely this reason.

Personnel development for NRW's talent pool

In addition, numerous state initiatives, trade associations, chambers of crafts, chambers of industry and commerce and trade unions in NRW offer a wide range of advanced and further training courses and thus support targeted personnel development. 

The qualifications of immigrants are also an important resource for our labor market – NRW is therefore making the recognition of qualifications acquired abroad as simple and fair as possible, so that all companies can benefit from the skills of foreign specialists.

Photo credits

@ Düsseldorf Marketing & Touprismus GmbH
@ RWTH Aachen University, Peter Winandy
@ Industryviews, Shutterstock
@ mauritius images, iStock