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Bosch targets STEM students at primary school

Bosch Australia has launched Learn@Bosch, a program designed to “spark enthusiasm for STEM” among Year 6 primary school students.

The company aims to achieve this by providing a real-world environment and inspiring context for learning. Rather than sending employees out to schools, Bosch Australia invited students to visit its Clayton headquarters to experience first-hand industry applications of STEM.

Addressing the decline in STEM study around the globe, research points to an overall decline in the number of students pursuing STEM subjects. Furthermore, a recent study suggests that females comprise only 16 per cent of the STEM workforce. Considering that a predicted 75 per cent of future jobs will require STEM study, this does not bode well for the future labour force. For this reason, Bosch Australia view the Learn@Bosch program as a long-term investment into an innovative and diverse talent pipeline for years to come.
Pivotal to engaging children in learning is answering the questions of why it is important and how it can be applied in the context of their lives. The Learn@Bosch program addresses both of these questions via an interactive tour featuring augmented reality, highly automated driving, robotics, the factory of the future and 3D printing. This is complimented with a 45-minute onsite coding class facilitated by the Monash University Chapter of Robogals – a student-run organisation that aims to inspire and empower young women to consider studying engineering and related fields.

Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, who attended the launch, noted the important role that industry leaders can play in opening doors to opportunity through education.
“The key to inspiring our children to aim high is to let them experience science in a real-world context – tackling problems, improving our lives,” Finkel said.

Current bookings will see over 1,000 students attend Learn@Bosch in 2018. However, Bosch Australia recognises the importance of building continued engagement with the students to extend their STEM journey.

Gavin Smith, President of Bosch Australia said, “In a tech company as diverse as Bosch, the learning opportunities are limited only by the imagination.”

There are plans for future sessions to include the Internet of Things (IoT), smart agriculture and hydraulics all geared towards sparking enthusiasm for STEM.

This initiative is part of a world-wide push by Bosch to get young people involved in the industry.

At its headquarters in Germany, the company is starting to push an apprenticeship program that it hopes will attract candidates who see STEM as a great career choice.
In 2019, Bosch will provide some 1,500  apprenticeships to young people. One in four apprenticeships involves a cooperative education program in a discipline such as electrical or mechanical engineering. Most of the apprenticeships the company is looking to fill are in careers related to connected manufacturing, including electronics engineers for automation technology, mechatronics engineers and IT specialists.

“Knowledge about digitalisation and connectivity is the basis for a successful career start,” said Christoph Kübel, director of industrial relations and member of the board of management at Robert Bosch GmbH. “Only those who understand the connected world will be able to shape it.”

Throughout Germany, more than 4,600 young women and men are currently completing occupational training at the company. At 16 percent, the share of female apprentices in STEM professions is nearly twice as high as the national average. “Mixed teams are more creative and generate better results. That’s why we place such importance on diversity in our workforce. One aspect of this is encouraging women to take up technical professions,” Kübel said.

At more than 50 locations, Bosch is training the specialists of tomorrow. The company adapts the material covered during training to the future needs of its locations, so that apprentices get the best possible preparation for a connected future. Along with new teaching concepts and subjects, such as e-learning, app programming, and robot configuration, educational partnerships play an important role. Together with trainers, apprentices develop fascinating and instructive projects to teach school students about the world of digitalisation and connectivity.

“As part of the educational partnerships, we start entrusting our apprentices with responsibility for themselves and for projects during occupational training,” says Siegfried Czock, head of occupational training and professional training policies at Bosch in Germany. “That way, apprentices learn to use their knowledge in a practical setting and share it with school students through specific project tasks. This interplay between gaining knowledge and passing it on is an important skill – for today and tomorrow.” Throughout Germany, more than 500 Bosch apprentices are already involved in over 300 educational partnerships that take place as part of the Knowledge Factory – Companies for Germany initiative, of which Bosch is a founding member.

As part of another educational partnership, apprentices at the engineering location in Schwieberdingen have designed a self-driving model car that is capable of identifying obstacles and avoiding them with the help of an infrared sensor. The necessary programming is done using the Calliope microcontroller. The apprentices are working with Year 7 students to assemble and program the car. “At first, the students usually can’t
imagine how automated driving works. After the project, they’re excited about technology, just like I was back then,” says Romy-Maria Bahmer, who is in her second year of training to become a mechatronics engineer.

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