Impulse conference 2024

Dual students discuss work intensification

06/17/2024 | Berlin - At the second edition of the impulse conference for dual students, colleagues from the IG Metall regions of Berlin-Brandenburg-Saxony, Coast, as well as Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt came together to share their experiences in the workplace and in universities. The thematic focus was on the complex issue of increased work density and the associated burdens.

The participants of the 2024 impulse conference. Photograph: IG Metall

In his initial welcoming address and introduction to the topic, Dirk Schulze, regional director of IG Metall Berlin-Brandenburg-Saxony, emphasized how IG Metall is involved in preventing workplace stress. New forms of work, the opportunities of digitalization, and new freedoms should be used to make the working world more equitable and humane. "In this context, the impulse conference is an important forum to discuss and address issues. What concerns do you have at university and at work? What can we improve together in dual studies? We at IG Metall are grateful for your input," said Schulze.

Jenifer Plater, who works in the department for salaried employees at the IG Metall executive board, provided deeper insights into the issue, highlighting the need for action regarding mental stress and exhaustion —especially in dual study programmes. How can these issues be counteracted? Especially since employers are circulating demands to shorten rest periods and make working hours more flexible. "As IG Metall, we have a clear position on this," Plater stated. "We must work with our works councils to ensure that new work trends translate into good work. For this, we already have existing tools, such as the risk assessment for mental stress in the workplace."

These topics were further intensified and discussed in workshops. For example, they covered the basics of "mental health" or self-management. Additionally, questions were raised about the extent to which AI and agile working methods can contribute to stress reduction. Do AI tools simplify academic work? Are agile methods better for managing workflows?

"The discussions and outcomes highlighted the high level of stress among dual students. One thing is clear: workload, stress, and performance pressure are problems that affect many and can only be overcome together. We have shown both individual and collective approaches to address these issues," said Rene Burghardt, responsible for student work in the IG Metall region of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

For networking, discussion, and exchange, the IG Metall education center in Berlin was the perfect place. Whether during the communal public screening of the European Championship opening match, morning yoga, or at the barbecue: the opportunities to engage in conversation and have fun were eagerly used. We look forward to seeing everyone again in Berlin on the first weekend of May 2025.