Water Technology – a new skill in Worldskills International

Rüdiger Heidebrecht, Patrick Gundert (Competitor) und Hilmar Tetsch (Expert)

Esslingen June 2017

Last week we met in Esslingen to prepare the trip to the Worldskills event in October 2017 in Abu Dhabi.

Worldskills International expects more than 1300 competitors and 150 000 visitors from more than 70 countries. The German Team will sent competitors for 37 skills. This year the new “Water Technolgy Skill” will start and Patrick from Neuwied will be the German competitor. He started his training already and the expert Hilmer is doing a good job to train the young wastewater technician who is in his 2nd year of education. Even the Russian Team came to Stuttgart for a one week training. 

I will travel to Abu Dhabi in October to support the new skill. We need 12 countries to stay in the competition. In Abu Dhabi 5 countries will join. DWA will support this event. There are also some companies like FESTO and Adiro who supports this event. 

Rüdiger Heidebrecht

Nexus Conference Dresden – UNU-Flores – Where people meet

Dresden, May 18th 2017

The Nexus Conference 2017 (Water, Energy and Agriculture) attracted over 400 professionals to Dresden. I was there with an DWA booth and attended the conference. Beside that DWA and United Nations University UNU-Flores signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work closer together in the years to come.


During one evening these seven people from 6 Nations (USA, Tunesia, Bukina Faso, Iran, Jordan, Germany) spend a very nice evening together.  We went through Dresden and I explained  a bit the history of Dresden and Germany. We expored that all the nations are interconnected e.g. by religion, trade or projects. This years we celebrate 500 years of Martin Luther – the priest who became the first protestant.

Collaboration and international work is one part of my job.
It is not only a job – it is joy and I appreciate this work very much.

Rüdiger Heidebrecht


Shanghai, May 6th 2017, IE expo 2017

The serie of University Challenges continued in May in Shanghai during the trade show IE expo. 10 Teams from 5 Universities participated during this 3rd event. We extended the tasks and beside the IWRM job they had to do another task.


The students had to go to the 28 German companies who were at the German Pavillion and they had to gether information from the companies. After 5 hours the winning team was found.
The winning team came this time from the Tongji University.
With the sponsoring and support from the Wilo Foundation the three students will come to the IFAT Muenich 2018.

5-2017 IEexpo Shanghai Siegerfoto

See more about the winner.

See more about the University Challenge.

Rüdiger Heidebrecht

Water Berlin 2017 – Kick of Meeting – New EWA (European Water Association) Working Group “EQF – European Qualification Framework in the Water Sector”

EWA EQF Kick Off meeting.jpg

Water Berlin 29.3.2017

During the Kick of Meeting of the new EWA Working Group “EQF in the European Water Sector” the following 13 countries joint the meeting.  From left represenartives from : Polen, Portugal, Spain, Norwey, Astria, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovenia, Albania, Netherland, Romania, Germany and Hungary. Additionally the BiBB (Federal Institute for Vocational Training, Germany and the Danube Projec, Austria send representatives.

We discussed the following four points:

1. Implementation of the EQF in the water sector in the various countries
How is the EQF introduced in the various countries?
A study with recommendations will be prepared and published in 2018
2. University Challenges of DWA during various IFATs in the world and Wetskill from
the Netherlands
How can we work better together in the area of Unversities?
3. Water Skills of DWA during the various IFATs in the world and the new Worldskills
International Initiative “Water Technology” starting in October 2017 in Abu Dhabi
How we can work together in the various Water Skills initiatives?
4. New Media
Various new media where shown by DWA: e.g. Training Boxes, QR-Code Feasibility
Study. E-Learining experiances where discussed

I´m now the chairman of this group and my aim is it to publish an European Study to show the actual situation and to make recommendations for the Water Sector in Europe to improve the mobility among the countries and to get an transparent picture of the various approches. I also talked with EUREAU Vice President Claudia Castell-Extner (DVGW) to avoid dublication and to get support and with Mr. Ulmer, DVGW chairperson qualification.

I´m also interested to get more cooperation for the various challenges for students and technicians during the trade shows in Europe and to develop an Euroskill and Worldskill competition with more countries.

That is all challenging but we will make it working in the next 3-4 years.
The start was very good and we had a very good discussion on the various topics. We know that some more countries will join like France, Swiss, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Rüdiger Heidebrecht

2. IFAT EURASIA – first time in Istanbul


I travelled to Istanbul in Feb. 2017 to see the trade show, to give a speech about the new SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals – goal 6 – water and goal 4 – education. I was also a moderator of one DWA session related with energy efficiency for Wastewater Treatment Plants and Sludge handling.

It was difficult to find professionals from Turkey to work with. We were lucky because we meet two professionals who did know us alright. They studied in Germany and participated at the Young Water Professional Programme.

We conducted the first UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE EURASIA with 4 teams from Izmir. The winning team will travel to IFAT Munich in 2018. It was a good first start. Hopefully the situation in Turkey stays stable in the years to come to continue this challenge.

The German companies I talked with where quite satisfied with the trade show. The show has much improved – better and bigger stands and quite international. It was good to have the show now every two years in Istanbul.

Rüdiger Heidebrecht

1. World University Callenge in Water Technology – my new idea is finally born in Germany

I started in 2010 to create the DWA WaterSkills for Operators – a skill challenge for blue collar workers. After that I was thinking how we could motivate students to visit trade shows and to have fun. In many universities and countries students challenges are commen. I studied other disciplienes and decided to start with a new Water Challenge. There was no one in our German Water Sector. After tests in Shanghai and Mumbai (see the young winners) we started with 18 international teams during IFAT Munich. During two days the teams had to solve 4 disciplines. Team Indonesia won, followed by Iran Team 5 and a team from the University of Stuttgart. 

Supported by companies like DHI, FESTO and Ball and jury members from universities like Berlin, Koblenz and Aachen and Water utilities like Ruhrverband and Berlinwasser make the UC more easy. The DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) is the Patronate of the World University Challenge.

Working with young people- itˋs a pleasure. I will extend this challenge in the years to come.

Rüdiger Heidebrecht 

IFAT 2016 – what a Show

The IFAT is over, I’m over, I’m tired but happy and satisfied.

The second trade show in one month (May 2016) – that is more than enough for me. First Shanghai and now IFAT Munich.

I’m the IFAT Project Leader for DWA. We organized 34 events with approximativ 2000 participants – Conferences, Workshops, WaterSkills, University Challenge, Jobtalks and Delegations. One stand with 20 Companies and Associations where many VIPs and Professionales showed up. 

Everything went well. The USA “WEF KSB-Team” for the WaterSkills competition was great, the Egyption, Slovenia, Austrian and German Teams did an excelent job. 

New was the 1.World University Challenge. I designed the challenge and Mrs. Martens organized it very well. I’m happy to have that done  with 18 Teams. The Wilo-Foundation and DAAD supports us very well. IFAT 2018 will be the second Challenge.

The new session “Women in the Water Sector” went very well and will be a start of a new serie. The “SDG” Session with GIZ, KfW and DAAD was also special als well aus the “WorldSkills” discussions. 

50 years IFAT – I met some old collegues of the early times. It was my 9th German IFAT- 3 more to go. Every event has it’s own momentum. This year the events in Hall B0 was great, the conferences and the WaterSkills went very well and I got the IFAT CEO into the manwhole. Now he understands the wastewater industry a bit better. He is a nice, brave and clever man. See his way into the manwhole.

Rüdiger Heidebrecht