The TeClub and MANN+HUMMEL have enjoyed a partnership for many years now. Since 2010, we have been regular visitors to the training workshop and 2018 was no different as, for the ninth time in a row, our pupils were treated to an excellent programme.

What is the TeClub?

The TeClub was created as part of the ‘Südwestmetall macht Bildung’ educational initiative run by the employers’ association, Südwestmetall. The idea behind the initiative is to secure young recruits for the metal and electronics industry. Since this is a large-scale and complex project, Südwestmetall also has several other collaborative partners on board. With support from the Ludwigsburg University of Education, the Staatliches Seminar für Didaktik und Lehrerbildung Heilbronn and BBQ, Südwestmetall were able to set up the wonderful TeClub programme for primary-school children. Alongside the TeClub, there are a wide range of other programmes run in collaboration with various project partners for youngsters ranging from pre-school age (TECHNOlino) right through to those at the higher education level (e.g. Schüler-Ingenieur-Akademie [Student Engineering Academy]). The overarching goal of all of these programmes is to encourage children and young people to get enthusiastic about the MINT subjects (Maths, IT, Natural Sciences and Technology) and encourage them develop an interest in the technical sector as early on as possible.

I am responsible for the TeClub in the Ludwigsburg region, where I have been involved as an organiser on behalf of BBQ since it was launched in 2010. So far, our work at the TeClub seems to have paid off, with over 90 applications received this year alone. We even had to draw lots for places in the individual workshops as we can only ensure that the participants will receive the support they need if the groups are kept relatively small. The TeClub’s programme allows the schoolchildren to get to know different companies in their free time, improve their technical skills at workshops held at Ludwigsburg University of Education, and visit the experimenta science centre in Heilbronn.

Workshop visit

practical workshop

MANN+HUMMEL is one of the companies involved every year. On Monday, 22 October 2018, the training workshop was, once again, filled with young voices, as 17 primary-school children marched in wearing their blue ‘TeClub’ caps. As ever, Ms Fritz and Mr Holzinger from the Training department provided a very warm welcome and introduced us to the dual-programme students, an apprentice and a trainee, who were going to be running the workshop for the children. The children were wide-eyed as soon as they entered the training workshop, as they discovered the impressive machines therein. And, since the question of what they were actually going to build in the workshop had been left open, the children were able to let their imaginations run wild and really get their brains working. As it turned out, the end result wasn’t a filter or a racing car, but the third and fourth-year pupils were able to build a torch under the guidance of the supervisors. It is, after all, nice for the children to have something to take home with them at the end of the day. Once Mr Holzinger had given a thorough safety briefing, the work finally got under way. Each student was given a blue box with the individual parts for the torch, which they then had to prepare for assembly using the machines. The children were soon drilling, turning and soldering away and, once they were finished, they were also allowed to engrave their workpiece.

engraving milling machine  engraving

The programme was also no easy task for the young supervisors, who had to keep a keen eye on their young protégés at all times. Once all the components had been finished, it was time to start assembling. Even though not everything went smoothly on the first try, after a final functional check, all the children were able to light their way back to the technology centre and proudly show off their final product to their parents. And, when Ms Fritz asked who had enjoyed themselves, all the hands shot up into the air right away.

A fulfilling experience for all involved

It wasn’t just an informative day for the children but also for the tutors involved:

Kilian (trainee):

“I think that we also gained a lot from it as it represented a change from our other work. And it was actually really fun too because the children did well and enjoyed what they were doing. But, of course, it was also a little challenging because we always had to keep an eye on the children to make sure nothing happened to them.”

And although they had all discovered their enthusiasm for technology in different ways, they were all in agreement that promoting technology from a young age is of vital importance. In the words of Carolin, an industrial engineering student at Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW):

“I think it’s important to promote this field. We didn’t have anything like this when I was younger, but I always enjoyed Maths and Physics. However, in secondary school, for example, you can choose between French, Technology or MuM (Humans and the Environment) – which includes social studies, cooking and baking, etc. – and I think a lot of people choose MuM because they don’t really know what technology is. That’s why I think it’s a great idea to teach kids what this means from an early age.”

From my perspective, it is of course wonderful to see that the programme is of benefit to all involved, and the best moment for me is always seeing the children’s eyes light up when they have the finished product in their hands. The enthusiasm with which they apply themselves to the task in hand during the production process, even though it’s an afternoon off school, always brings me joy too. This shows me that our concept has really taken off and also that we are able to teach the children something along the way.

working on the machines

However, none of this would be possible without the commitment of the partner companies so I would like to finish by reiterating how much I value working together with the team in the Training department at MANN+HUMMEL, who put so much effort into planning and running the programme. As always, it has been great working with you and I am already looking forward to coming back with the TeClub during the next school year.

Should you have any further questions or if you would like to find out more about the TeClub, please do not hesitate to contact me at:  gagsch.anette@biwe-bbq.de