Success as a team

DWA: promoting talent, securing quality

Hennef. 28 teams from Germany, Egypt, Jordan and the USA took part in the Water Skills hosted by the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) in Munich in mid May 2018 (14 to 17 May 2018). 14 student teams participated in the parallel World University Challenge also organised by the DWA.

“I am thrilled to see how committed the participants were”, enthused Rüdiger Heidebrecht, Head of the Training and International Cooperation Department at the DWA and the initiator of the competitions. He is convinced: university and professional competitions are an excellent tool for promoting young talents and drawing the attention of companies to motivated employees and junior staff. What counts is the team spirit, says Heidebrecht.

Sewage professionals demonstrate their skills

The World Water Skills for the operating staff and the Water Skills Germany for the apprentices in sewage treatment plants were held – like the University Challenge - in several disciplines: the sewage professionals had to show that they mastered perfect shaft entrance skills, and that, despite speed when rescuing an injured colleague, they still observed the necessary safety precautions. Based on the example of a sewage plant agitator, maintenance and repair work was to be demonstrated. In addition, the competitors had to show that they are able to operate measuring, control and regulating devices quickly and correctly and to monitor process operations. For this, the flow diagram of a sewage treatment plant was to be depicted with magnetic cards on a whiteboard, and an operational disruption had to be detected and eliminated.

Student teams fit and ahead

The junior academics had to master tasks for the sustainable use of the resource water. The connection between water use, social and economic development as well as ecological sustainability had to be simulated, and structural development measures in the areas of water, waste and energy had to be sensibly combined. The participants also had to show that they master the controlling and measuring tasks in drains and sewage treatment plants and can identify and name errors in a virtual sewage treatment plant.

There was also praise from DWA’s President Otto Schaaf for the dedication of the teams: “We need well-trained specialists so that our sewage systems function perfectly. Those who take the challenge under the eyes of their colleagues not only show courage, but also that quality at work is important to them.” The DWA’s commitment to training and further education, and in particular the competitions, is an important component in securing high-level performance, Schaaf continued.

The competitions were held during the industrial fair IFAT. The visitors were able to see for themselves what knowledge and skills are expected of sewage engineering technicians and junior water management engineers.

Impressions of the professional competition of the sewage experts can be found on the Facebook page of the competitions (

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