YOS - Young and Old in School (JAU - Jung und Alt im Unterricht)

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YOS - Young and Old in School (JAU - Jung und Alt im Unterricht)

Harsewinkel, Germany
Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Once a week pensioners of different trades work in the external workshop with pupils on concrete hands-on projects using their skills.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

1) The concept supports young people with complicated educational careers with their practical vocational orientation. These pupils often have difficulties, to make a decision for a profession by simply reading brochures or listening to lectures. . But practically oriented concepts of individual support require personnel, material, time and space 2) The project offers pupils a flexible and realistic practice area for their soft skills: ambition, endurance, reliability and responsibility are expected every week when they work with their Pensioners of the JAU-Project. 3) JAU encourages the social learning and the intergenerational understanding. Old and Young work together on the same project, putting together their competencies and leads to a successful work result. The mutual appreciation of strengths and competencies gives all participants a new view on the partners. The generational conflict and the insecurity turn into a vivid union. 4) JAU- has a big impact on the mental well-being of the retirees. The feeling to be need, the new task, working in the old job with young , interested people in a new, informal environment has a relaxing, inspiring and motivation effect on all participating pensioners 5) JAU- breaks the anonymity of school and makes the public aware of the young peoples´ problems in their transition to working life. The work in the external workshop shows the citizens the problems, but also the very successful achievements and encourages many to get involved.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

JAU- brings pupils in their phase of vocational orientation and pensioners from mechanical and technical trades together. The aim is a common effort to work practically on concrete projects. This gives the pupils an orientation in their work- and life-planning as well as a better intergenerational understanding. The pensioners find a meaningful area of operation in their old job; they give something back to society and feel needed. Their social and mental wellness improves strongly. The JAU-Concept is exceptional because of its practical relevance. Others than Mentors programs, that bring seniors and adolescents in rather constructed settings together, all participants of JAU meet with a high level of interest and competence. The teenagers ask for certain work fields and want to gain practical experience. The retirees operate as experts in their own field.. This common interest leads to contentment and releases a high degree of productivity. After Retirement craftsmen of mechanic and industrial trades hardly find opportunities to get active. Neither senior citizens universities nor the public community college programs deal with this target group. JAU activates this group of people on a long term and at pinpoint and lets them work in a field, that gave them joy and satisfaction during their whole working life. So they experience this contentment during their retirement again. Furthermore like no other project in Germany JAU managed to put up a solid regional network. Because of the involvement of the retirees, teacher, businesses and companies, the city council, commercial enterprises, societies, social communities and citizens the whole town takes part in the education of its own juveniles. Every single one contributes his own competencies and potentials. All these little supports add up to a broad and solid basis. Finally the inclusion of external partners and supporters enables JAU-to maintain a completely independent funding. Neither the state nor any other public institution puts money toward the project. The necessary means add up through donations, prize money and profits from products that are produced in the workshop.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

There was a young man, who worked in the carpenter’s department. During his whole school career he stood out for low motivation and disturbing lessons. In 10th grade he met the carpenter in the external workshop, who initially didn’t think he was capable to work on the JAU-Project because he considered his own competencies not good enough. Also he couldn’t see himself working with the pupils and other pensioners. In the following months these two worked together putting up a roof framework. For the first time the boy experienced his own abilities, developed self consciousness and competencies and found an apprenticeship place as a carpenter after he left school. The senior connected with the workshop team and met new young and old people. Also he was able to pass on his knowledge in a field that had given him satisfaction for the past decades-his old profession. He achieved acknowledgement by pupils and teachers, but also by interested media and finally as a representative of the school at price giving ceremonies.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Following basic requirements make the successful implementation feasible: - Start small: it is advisable, to concentrate on a small working field first and get only a few active participants on board, so all manpower can concentrate on building the structure As soon as all processes run smoothly and satisfyingly, more active partners can join - It is extremely important, that despite of the school context, the teachers withdraw from the working fields of the pupils and pensioners. The institutional authority of the teacher would cause a competitive situation between teacher and retiree and might be in disadvantage for the latter. - Openness towards all network partners and those interested is elementary for the success of the intergenerational learning. - Communication is the basis for this. Whether verbally or in written documentation all people involved are revealed transparency and trust. - For the intergenerational work empathy is imperative. Everyone has to be able to project his/her thoughts into the counterparts role and thinking, no matter if pupil, teacher or senior. That lays the foundation for a trustful and conflict-free action.
About You
About You
First Name

Dr. Wolfgang

Last Name


Implementer(s) and cooperation partners



Public body

Country where main implementer is located

, NW, Harsewinkel

How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

The August-Claas-Schule is represented by headmaster Hermann Hecker and the technical head and coordinator of the project Dr. Wolfgang Strotmann. This school is a secondary school in Harsewinkel with approximately 400 pupils. Its curriculum puts a strong focus of the pupils’ preparation for job and life.
Hermann Hecker is a courageous headmaster, who enabled the JAU-project to proceed notwithstanding the many considerations. Especially his commitment to establish the network was invaluable for the project.
The technical management in the external workshop was taken over by Hermann Reimann.

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Cooperation partner

Claas Selbstfahrende Erntemaschinen (Claas SEM GmbH)


Private company

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Claas supplies material, tools, machines, offers free training and helps financially since more than 10 years.

Cooperation partner

city of Harsewinkel


Public body

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

The City of Harsewinkel supports financially, helps building a network und and offers non-material assistance.

Cooperation partner

Retired Craftsmen


Informal group

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

The retired craftsmen invest their time as well as work and live-experience.

Cooperation partner

Please select

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Approximately 50 words left (300 characters).

Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering).

If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

Claas SEM GmbH was included in the idea to the basic concept. Initially the firm stayed out of the planning and the forming of the Project to give the school pedagogical and didactic freedom to create the concept. Since then Claas fully supports JAU with material as well as in logistic matters. Continuous communication with the personnel managers and training supervisors of Claas reveal the precise needs of the workshop and lead to an ongoing reflection of the project’s processes.
The pensioners found a new role as designers, facilitators and significant persons. They organised their own working area, coordinated with the pupil’s needs and took responsibility for the adolescents’ development. They accompany the young people on their way to gain orientation and competencies. They are available as experts in the technical and mechanical trades as well as a confidential and personal contact. Their voluntary engagement made the success of JAU possible. At the same time they experienced themselves as mentors in many new forms.
From the beginning the municipality joined the efforts and participated in providing the place, the logistic supply and helped the building of a network.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

JAU-has undergone numerous evaluations. It was given various awards due to a complex documentation of the idea and the processes. The project finds many possibilities of scientific evaluation. Therefore several Bachelor- and Master theses were written about this topic. Currently the University of Osnabrück examines the project within a long-term-study. Meanwhile JAU has gained international attention and the coordinators were invited to conferences in Zurich and Brussels. Also intergenerational platforms in the USA and Canada judge the concept as exceptional and want to take up the idea.
The results of all evaluations acknowledge, that the JAU-Project is of extremely high value in efficiency and benefit (for pupils, retirees, school, teachers, parents, firms, societies, council, local economy) sustainability, wellbeing of the participants, financial independence and a genuine intergenerational understanding.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for more than 5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

independent (your solution is approaching a problem that has not been approached before)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

In the last six years the projects did not face any unsolvable problems. All challenges were taken on and, with the aid of the steadily expanding network, recognized and solved.
The realistic and practical approach offers solutions for invariably all challenges, because on one hand it bases on an already existing learning relationship in the professional world and picks up the intergenerational web of relationships within a family on the other hand.
So there were neither financial, nor material or ideational barriers that could not be overcome.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees






External advisers and experts

20 (all as well voluntary)

Others (please specify)
What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

- Teachers: offer the didactic, methodical and educational background. Their pedagogical know-how in the organisation of school groups is essential for the good procedure of the project
- pensioners: contribute 40- to 50-years of work experience and 70 years of life experience.
- Municipal administration: guarantees the institutional /legal structure, relieves actives in the workshop of time-consuming administrative tasks and provides the media coverage.
- Management/industry: with their economical knowledge and means of marketing they support the undisturbed processes in the workshop.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

The project is led by a technical and an organisational guide.
The technical guide is responsible for all processes within the internal work groups. He is the main didactic head and is in charge of the educational responsibility. Outside the workshop he is the contact person for customers and suppliers.
The organisational guide accounts for the process control. He is the contact person for all other external partners from schools, universities, industry, administration, politics, social services and private persons. He collects internal and external information, controls changes/innovations

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.

30.000 Euro

National public funding


European Union public funding


Economic return from own products/services


Foundations and philanthropy capital


Single donations from private individuals


Donations from private companies


Crowdfunding platforms


Participation fees


Other (please specify)


Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

The focus of the concept is the cooperation of Old and the benefit and wellbeing it brings to both groups
Basically JAU wants to encourage complete towns, to participate in a common education and development of their younger generation and to give their senior citizens a sensible and active field of engagement.
This thought has come to life in Harsewinkel and offers a realistic opportunity, to copy this project in other areas of Europe in one or the other way.

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.

We reach approximately per year about 200 retirees and sudents with our solution

In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

The solution ist currently implemented in the city or Harsewinkel. Other cities are going to implement it.

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

The pupils get a clearly broader and more realistic possibility of vocational orientation. They get the occasion to try a wide range of trades and can collect practical job experiences. They get to know different professions in cooperation with real experts of various fields. This helps them to match their own expectations with the things they have learned and the skills they have discovered. Last but not least they experience the intergenerational context of authentic work teams.

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

Young people need support on their way to working life and into society. In this process not only school and the parental home play an important role. To a much greater degree this task of school becomes a task of community and society. But the intention is not to shove off school’s responsibility, but to encourage the whole community, to get involved in the education of young people and to accompany them on their way into the world of adults.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

The intended effects were clearly exceeded. Many factors like respectability, transparency, the technical & social knowledge acquisition and the extraordinary personal atmosphere led to an overwhelming support for the project.
At present JAU can be conducted financially independent from federal funds. It receives donations, either financially, in means of material, time and wisdom from clubs, societies, firms and innumerable private persons.
The participating pensioners are highly respected within the community and other retirees offer their cooperation.
The city takes pride in its school.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Experience-based self-assessment (you assessed the impacts based on your experiences with the target group), Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts), External evaluation of impacts based on qualitative methods (interviews, focus groups, etc.).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Organisational structure, Working method and 'theory of change'.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

-The range of professional fields should be extended. (Agricultural and engineering work fields)
-More generations like pre-school-children and very old people should be integrated. Thus even more competencies and ideas enrich the project and an even larger interconnection and participation of the whole community can be achieved.
-The extension of the offers also means a new building is required that is big enough. Numerous donators have indicated their willingness to support the new construction financially. Therefore the financial independence of the project in the future is guaranteed.