The next generation must be nurtured from kindergarten onwards: if we want to ensure there are enough clever heads in the future we must make technology attractive right from the start.
Children are born explorers: Why does the wheel turn? How does a bulb light up? What happens to the sun at night? With various projects for small and not-so-small children, ebm-papst is satisfying the next generation’s natural curiosity. At the St. Georgen location, the “Technolino” partnership programme initiated by the “Südwestmetall” association is quenching children’s thirst for knowledge. “We teach children about technology in a playful way”, explains Roland Weisser, ebm-papst plant manager at St. Georgen. Kindergarten children visit the factory and, together with trainees and the speaking bird puppet Technolino, discover the world of technology. For example, fan-driven mini-cars are made, with which the little researchers can then hold races. “Clever heads are our most important resource”, emphasises Weisser, “so we must make sure that this resource continues to flow in the future, too.”
The Mulfingen location is also actively committed to the early promotion of the next generation, for example in several projects in the innovative Kocher & Jagst region. Every year since 2004, around 20 children aged between eight and ten have spent a week tinkering around in the training workshop. Together with two committed retired employees, as well as trainees and trainers from ebm-papst, they have been doing the “Inventors week” credit; for example, little hovercraft and gliders have been developed, designed and constructed. In cooperation with schools in the region, ebm-papst is taking part in the MINTecHohenlohe project sponsored by the Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg (state foundation). In the MINTec workshops, trainees are the learning partners of the schoolchildren. The topics go beyond the compulsory syllabus and encourage research into and discussion of physical and scientific phenomena. At the end of a week in the workshop, the children have learnt a lot about technology and can proudly take their own “journeyman pieces” home. “The schoolchildren have a lot of fun with this form of learning, for the young trainees can give them the assistance they need”, explains Stefanie Geisbusch, the Project Manager for MINTecHohenlohe. This early contact and exchange of practical experience with the trainees frequently leads to the subsequent desire to take up a technical occupation. The students at Heilbronn Technical College took this decision long ago, but they still benefit from sponsorship by ebm-papst in the form of two foundation professorships. One of the professorships is in the area of renewable energies. Here the focus is on the next generation in the truest sense of the term.