“We can make a difference in Cuxhaven”
Interview with Kai Uwe Bielefeld, administrator of the district of Cuxhaven
Mr Bielefeld, as a member of the steering committee of the Hamburg metropolitan region you promote the Cuxhaven district’s economic development. What are the benefits of being part of the Hamburg metropolitan region?
The Hamburg metropolitan region is among Germany’s three largest metropolitan regions and stretches over four federal states. As a result and coupled with the fact that Hamburg is so well known and is Germany’s oldest city, it is perceived the world over as a major conurbation. Cuxhaven stands to gain from the strong marketing carried out, the projects that have attracted funding and the industries associated with Hamburg. Cuxhaven’s ties to Hamburg are especially apparent in the offshore and port business, because the training of skilled personnel, production and preparation for shipping must be located as closely as possible to the port. Due to the companies and industries located here, Cuxhaven is very important.
What role does Cuxhaven play in combating the shortage of skilled personnel?
With regards to the lack of skilled personnel, the pull exercised by big cities was recently stressed at a regional conference by the Hamburg metropolitan region recently held in Buchholz. Retaining young people and offering them both an attractive workplace and an appealing environment to live in are important issues for the district of Cuxhaven. The offshore wind industry and logistics businesses in Cuxhaven offer a wide range of jobs. The district therefore pays special attention to supporting youngsters who have dropped out of school and people changing careers. Examples include projects like “Second Chance” which provides personal help and tutoring, group sessions and project days to school students. Our goal is that nobody should be left out, whether they are skilled or unskilled workers. Of course there are also many attractive job opportunities for university graduates and specialists in Cuxhaven. In this case the focus lies on attracting skilled personnel and their partners due to the high-quality of the environment they could live in and the good transport connections to Hamburg.
What is your forecast for the district of Cuxhaven in 2015?
We have seen good economic development over the last two years that will hopefully continue this year as well. While the process of retaining the existing companies and industries continues unabated, we should now aim at jointly forging ahead with attracting new offshore companies in the region. Cuxhaven is unrivalled when it comes to the immediate availability of land. Forecasts for the offshore wind industry also show a renewed upward trend. In 2013/2014, key sections of the two wind farms Amrumbank West and Meerwind Süd/Ost were completed and handled to a large extent via Cuxhaven. All of this demonstrates the location’s relevance and potential. In other words we can make things happen in Cuxhaven. After clarifying the uncertainties concerning the REA surcharge last year, there is now a need to guarantee grid connection and grid management and come up with solutions together. All in all, due to the positive development of the offshore wind industry, but also of manufacturing industry in Cuxhaven, I’m optimistic about 2015.