Campus - 14.11.2016 - 00:00 

National Future Day 2016: at the University with their parents

This year the National Future Day took place on 10 November 2016. On the annual event girls and boys are allowed to accompany their parents to work. The aim is to provide them with an insight into professional life at an early age and to dispel classic role model ideas. A report by student reporter Tabea Stöckel.

15 November 2016. The room is slowly filling up. The children are sitting on their chairs full of expectation and are waiting for the welcoming address. They will be getting an insight into their parents’ work in the context of the National Future Day – all day long. In addition, the University of St.Gallen’s IT Services is participating in a national initiative to guide girls towards classic male jobs. Under the programme heading of "Girls – IT – go!" the young women will be given ludic insights into programming in the afternoon.

Getting to know university job profiles

The morning’s programme focused on familiarising the children with university job profiles. After the initial welcome, they were shown photographs of various people. With the help of different features, the children had to find out what function the person shown on the screen exercised. They were perfectly able to play with various clichés and quickly guessed most professions. Subsequently, they had to think about their interests and position their profile in a schematic diagram. This is the first time that the warm-up session had been conducted at the HSG in this format, and the feedback from speakers was positive across the board.

After a refreshing break, the children faced the second item on the programme. They had a dismantled computer in front of them, which they had to reassemble under their own steam. They were able to obtain tips from two IT professionals. The pupils got into the nuts and bolts of the job with great motivation, and euphoria broke out as soon as the screen started to light up. To introduce an additional hurdle, three errors had been put in place, which the next group had to fix. This was an initial warm-up for the programme after lunch, which would place another focus on IT.

Initiative for gender equality

The National Future Day does not only aim to enable children to pay a visit to their parents’ workplaces but also intends to provide them with insights into professional fields that are gender-atypical. Girls accompany their fathers whilst boys accompany their mothers. The programme emerged from the National Daughters’ Day, which was launched in 2001. This programme was developed further, and in addition to accompanying their parents, children are now also able to attend events which advocate gender-neutral career choices. A wide range of such insights is now offered by various institutions and companies nationwide, and it is under this motto that the University of St.Gallen is committed to guiding girls towards IT.

Ludic programming

In the afternoon, eight children turned up at the offices of IT Services, where they were given an insight into the world of programming under the leadership of Kurt Schädler. They were allowed to modify a website and program a game themselves. Seven girls and one boy participated in this programme point, which is completely in keeping with the objective of this event.

The remaining participants joined their parents, and the individual programme started. Various children can be seen hurrying through the corridors accompanied by their parents; one girl visited her father in the Library. As an avid visitor to the Children’s University, she was already familiar with the University and amused herself with a comic book on a chair in the foyer of the Library while her father was advising students. With shining eyes, she talked about how much fun working with the computer had been.

Tabea Stöckel is studying International Affairs in the third semester.

Photo: Tabea Stöckel

Discover our special topics