Federal Minister Brigitte Zypries at the international trade fair for craft trades

Federal Minister Brigitte Zypries at the international trade fair for craft trades

© BMWi

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Brigitte Zypries is in Munich today to open this year’s Internationale Handwerksmesse, the international trade fair for craft trades, at which the 140,000 expected visitors can find out about the services on offer and new developments in the field from more than 1,000 exhibitors. The main focus in 2018 is on skills development, the upcoming generation, digitalisation and technical progress, and the event’s motto is “Skilled crafts: The next generation. We’re showing what’s coming”.

Minister Zypries said: “The skilled craft sector is one of the driving forces of the German economy, it’s the backbone of the German Mittelstand. But these companies are also experiencing massive change and need to keep pace with digitalisation if they are to remain world leaders. So our economy requires investment in the skilled craft sector and particularly in digitalisation. We should also continue to boost our vocational training system and preserve our rules on the ‘Meister’, the master craftsman. If we do this in the coming years, we will be able to maintain the positive overall development in the craft sector we have seen over the last few years.”

Once again, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has its own stand at the trade fair. It is mainly providing advice on the ministry’s funding programmes and initiatives, presenting the craft trades in the health sector, and displaying the “Bathroom 4.0” project. Further to this, the ministry is funding the special exhibitions “Innovation wins!” and “Exempla 2018”, at which visitors can experience the skilled crafts as “living workshops” and see for themselves the quality and services offered by the sector.

Other highlights include the presentation of the “federal awards for outstanding innovative achievements in the skilled craft sector” by Parliamentary State Secretary Iris Gleicke and the “skilled craft prize of the guarantee banks” by Parliamentary State Secretary Dirk Wiese.

A glance at the economic performance of the skilled craft sector over the last year reveals a lot of positive results. In addition to the approx. €40 billion stimulus for further public-sector and private-sector investment up to 2020 and the House-Building Campaign, it proved possible to provide €16 million a year towards advisory services for the skilled craft sector. Also, progress was made on strengthening the self-governance of the skilled craft sector and on establishing the “Digital Skilled Crafts” centre of excellence with its five regional showcases on information and communication technology, digital processes, building information modelling, production and automation technologies, and IT-based business models.