Martin Zandonella of Carinthian Chamber of Commerce (WKO) in our interview about the University of Klagenfurt Technology Scholarships

We have talked to Martin Zandonella, chairman of the Information and Consulting Division at the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce (WKO), about the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in Carinthia and why should a company participate in the Technology Scholarships programme.


Could you briefly introduce yourself and the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce to us?

I am the chairman of the Information & Consulting Division at the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce and in this function I represent the interests of more than 6,000 Carinthian companies from the sectors of information, communication and consulting. Our companies are the engine of the innovation hub and employ around 15,000 people in the state.


AAU is very grateful that the Carinthian Chamber of Commerce (WKO) and Federation of Austrian Industries (IV) have been willing to share their expertise with AAU since the planning phase of the Technology Scholarships programme and have been active supporters from the very beginning. What has been the WKO’s motivation to support Technology Scholarships programme and which potential did so see in this initiative?

Carinthia’s economy suffers greatly from a shortage of skilled professionals which is slowing down innovative companies, especially in the ICT sector and digitalized industries. We want to change that and actively do something about it. That’s why close networking and cooperation with AAU is very important to us. Training and continuing education are the key factors for us in promoting talent at an early stage and building up skills that are relevant for the future. The opportunity to attract qualified international students as highly skilled professionals for Carinthian companies must be seized. They should establish contacts with the local economy at an early stage and thus get to know the advantages of Carinthia as a business location and place to live.


From your perspective as a chairman of division in an institution representing the interests of numerous companies operating in the ICT sector, why should a company participate in the Technology Scholarships programme by sponsoring scholarships and offering internships?

Through the exchange with students, companies obtain new ideas and get to know other perspectives. Conversely, students benefit from the practical know-how of the local economy and build up a valuable network early on. It’s a win-win situation for both sides. In addition, it is an excellent opportunity for companies to present their advantages to the skilled professionals of tomorrow and to attract them to the regional labor market. Carinthia is already an attractive place for young, international professionals. By participating in scholarship and internship programs, students can experience and feel this. In this way, companies can make a sustainable investment in their future and attract the best minds to their business.


Thanks to the Technology Scholarships programme, many qualified and motivated students from all over the world have been able to take up studies at AAU and start internship/part-time employment at local ICT companies. In your opinion, why is the regional labor market attractive for highly qualified ICT graduates?

With the English master’s degree programs at AAU’s Faculty of Technical Sciences, students can benefit from an outstanding education offer in Carinthia. The combination of studies and internships allows students to delve deeper into the fields of information management, gain practical experience in professional life and establish valuable contacts with the regional economy. Our companies are characterized by innovative dynamics and react extremely successfully on the international market thanks to their flexibility. Due to the rather smaller structures, the focus is not only on the professional but also on the human aspect. The open and hospitable mentality of Carinthians is reflected in the economy. Nothing stands in the way of a fast career development for young, committed professionals – without sacrificing a good work-life balance. Quickly jumping into the lake during your lunch break or going straight from the office up to the mountain – all of this is possible in Carinthia. Carinthia is also a state with a high quality of life for families.


Thank you very much for providing us with your valuable expertise. Lastly, we would be glad to offer you the opportunity to share your thoughts on the Technology Scholarships programme with everyone who might be interested in it, and kindly ask if there is anything you would like to add from your side?

Carinthian companies act internationally and regularly win top-class awards. Working in such an environment opens up incredible opportunities and a wide variety of possibilities for young people. We are working to make these success stories more visible to the outside world and welcome international professionals with open arms.