"I think that as a woman or a man, you can apply for any profession you want. Both can be equally good. The main thing is that the job is fun," says 13-year-old Selmedin Repplinger from Gersweiler, summing up what Boys' and Girls' Day is all about every year: giving boys and girls an insight into professional practice beyond all the clichés and tropes. In addition to Selmedin, 13-year-old Ian Minke, Leon Niklas Schledorn, who is the same age, and 11-year-old Azad Atsal also had the opportunity to learn more about CISPA and the paralegal profession for a whole day on Thursday, April 28.
The four boys started their day at CISPA's main building in Saarbrücken, where Andreas Walcker-Mayer, head of the Legal and Licensing staff unit, showed them around the research center and told them more about the work of cybersecurity researchers before they then took a van to the Halberg site. There, the boys visited the offices of the legal department. On-site, CISPA employees and trained paralegals Vanessa Scheer and Nadine Balzert were best able to explain what tasks they do daily. They quickly moved from theory to practice: the boys drew up their own contract and accompanied the fictitious signature run in the house. "I totally enjoyed that," says 11-year-old Azad Atsal. He has a wide range of interests and was also pleased to be able to talk briefly with CISPA's architect and take a look at the design of the new building for the CISPA campus expansion. "Becoming an architect would be good for me. But being a paralegal is interesting, too. Maybe I'll become that, too."
Leon Niklas Schledorn, 13, from Neuweiler, actually already knows where his professional journey should take him at some point: "I want to join the German armed forces later, like my stepfather. But if that doesn't work out, I can also well imagine becoming a paralegal." He shares these plans with his classmate Ian Minke from Quierschied. "I found the day and everything I heard about the profession very interesting," says the 13-year-old. The boys found the CISPA offer on the Boy's Day website. They were told about the day of action by their teachers.
The boys can't explain the fact that, with a share of more than 90 percent, many more women than men work as paralegals - and it doesn't matter to them. "They approached it with an open mind," says Andreas Walcker-Meyer, adding, "And they really took everything in great stride." Vanessa Scheer says, "I feel like we were able to get the guys excited about our profession." Colleague Nadine Balzert adds, "It was important for us to show that the profession is very versatile and, for example, looks very different in a research institution than in a law firm." The idea to participate in Boys' Day came to Andreas Walcker-Mayer when he read information about it from the German Lawyers' Association. "Unfortunately, a downward trend has solidified in the number of apprenticeships. The profession has become a niche occupation due to the associated shortage of skilled workers. But despite the advance of digitalization, it is by no means threatened with extinction, but rather in a state of flux. We brought the overwhelmingly positive aspects of this change to the boys' attention today."
After lunch together in the Halberg canteen and a short game of table soccer, it was back to the CISPA main building, where CISPA faculty Dr. Michael Schwarz told Leon, Ian, Selmedin, and Azad more about his research. "I found how a hacking attack like this goes down super exciting," says Ian. Selmedin agrees with him, "I thought that was cool, too. Like my dad, I'm really interested in computers."
A 10-finger typing competition provided fun in the afternoon and awakened the boys' athletic ambitions. Afterward, a short lecture on "How to become a paralegal?" rounded out the day together. At the end of the day, the boys all agreed on one thing: "We'd love to come to CISPA again and want to look at other professions at the center."
What is Boys' Day?
Boys' Day has been organized since 2011 by the Federal Coordination Office at the Competence Center for Technology, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity (Kompetenzzentrum Technik-Diversity-Chancengleichheit e. V.). The day of action supports boys and young men in finding the right profession for them - free of clichés, according to their interests and abilities. Boys' Day is a low-threshold offer and is designed to provide participants with a variety of information and insight into professional practice. Cooperation partners are companies and institutions from the fields of health and care, social work, education and training, youth, and equality, as well as services and crafts, schools and universities, employment agencies, and trade unions.
translated by Oliver Schedler