Stuttgart/Weissach. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport yesterday honored the 242 winners of the 2003 Ferry Porsche Prize in a ceremony held at the Weissach Research and Development Center. Once again, the recipients were the year’s best graduates from general-education and vocational high schools in Baden Württemberg, all of whom took advanced-placement classes in math, physics or technology.
In his speech, Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking, President and CEO of Porsche AG, explained that Porsche originally established this award to interest young people in studying engineering and science. According to Dr. Wiedeking, attracting highly trained young engineers and scientists is not only one of the most important objectives for Porsche, but also for the country as a whole. “The quality of our up-and-coming scientists and engineers is far more important than labor costs when it comes to the future competitiveness of Germany as a place for business. Knowledge is our key advantage in our bid to survive growing competition from both old and new industrial nations,” stressed the head of Porsche. He stated that he is thus convinced that suitable graduates who choose to pursue university education in these fields needn’t worry about future employment or career prospects.
Dr. Annette Schavan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, also encouraged the prizewinners to study the sciences. She spoke of how ongoing public debate about the risks and dangers of modern technology has led to dramatically declining interest in science and technology on the part of young people in Germany. According to Dr. Schavan, Baden-Württemberg was therefore the first state in Germany to take action on this issue and change its educational policy to place greater emphasis on the subjects of math, information technology, science and technology. Better skills in these subjects would also result in higher university enrollment, believes the Minister. “We need a resurgence in enthusiasm for technology, more pleasure in new inventions, and more optimism about the future. We need more inventors and researchers,” appealed Baden-Württemberg’s Culture Minister to the young people.
The Ferry Porsche Prize was named after the car designer, entrepreneur and founder of Porsche sports-cars, who passed away in 1998. It was first awarded in 2001 and consists of a certificate, a biography of Ferry Porsche and a gift from Porsche AG. It also gives the prizewinners an early opportunity to get to know Porsche as an attractive potential employer and to establish contacts for subsequent hands-on training at Porsche.
As a special highlight of the event, five grants for practical training in the US were again raffled off by Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, the youngest son of Ferry Porsche and a shareholder and Supervisory Board member of Porsche AG. The winners of the grants were Christoph Becherer (Technisches Gymnasium Offenburg), Matthias Däuber (Gymnasium Gerabronn), Jochen Eggler (Welfen-Gymnasium Ravensburg), Christina Escher (Georg-Büchner Gymnasium Winnenden) und Robert Geisberger (Berufliches Schulzentrum Wertheim). In the summer of 2004, they will have a chance to spend four weeks gaining work experience at the American subsidiary of the sports car manufacturer, Porsche Cars North America in Atlanta, Georgia.