15 years zdi | Since 2009, zdi-BSO-MINT has reached 400.000 young people

zdi.NRW celebrated a special anniversary: ​​At the zdi network in Gelsenkirchen, two schoolchildren were honored as the 400.000th participant in the zdi-BSO-MINT program for their project course. A reason for us to tell you a little more about the program for in-depth career and study orientation. And there we start with three very excited teenagers...

Sina stands in the middle of the stage and is visibly nervous. Ben is on her left, Batoul on her right. The two are relieved that their classmate is confidently telling about the moment when she tells her mother that she would like to take part in a computer science course in the near future. "My mom was very confused at first and asked if I would really enjoy it," says Sina. "But I convinced her very quickly: Yes, I would like to learn to program."

Sina in conversation.

As she says this, Klaus Kaiser, Parliamentary State Secretary of the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry for Culture and Science, and Torsten Withake, Managing Director of the NRW Regional Directorate of the Federal Employment Agency, exchange brief glances. They smile. Hearing something like that strengthens the two in their commitment to MINT funding in NRW.

Career and study orientation for 11 years

For eleven years now, the Ministry of Science and the Federal Employment Agency in North Rhine-Westphalia have been working together to offer courses for in-depth career and study orientation in the STEM field via the zdi networks and zdi student laboratories. Those responsible are now celebrating the fact that the program has now reached 400.000 young people. This corresponds to 4 million hours in so-called zdi-BSO-MINT courses, in which the participants experienced MINT and thus received well-founded knowledge for their personal professional decisions.

Sina, Ben and Batoul, who go to the Gelsenkirchen-Bismarck Evangelical Comprehensive School, were celebrated on behalf of their zdi project course. Last school year, you took part in the project course “Explore your environment with the EV12” with a total of eight 3th graders. The course was implemented by the zdi network Gelsenkirchen. There in the EnergyLab, the young people carried out various environmental measurements on small robots (EV3). 

"In our group, for example, we have planned a solar system that rotates with the sun," reports Sina. Ben's group wanted to use the robot to measure temperature and humidity over a period of time. Unfortunately, the projects could not be completed due to the corona virus, but the young people still got a great insight into the world of programming and environmental measurements.

Partners are convinced of the concept

Claus Kaiser explained: “Today, given the great variety of jobs and the countless fields of application, supporting young people in their professional orientation is more important than ever. In addition, numerous new professions require STEM knowledge. I am therefore enthusiastic about how successful our program is and how many schoolchildren we have already been able to reach in order to show them future perspectives in the STEM field.”

Torsten Withake sagte:
“By practically solving very different tasks, zdi motivates young people to discover professional opportunities and chances in the MINT professions. The MINT disciplines are given a whole new look: I particularly like the noticeable enthusiasm that the young people develop when experimenting and discovering their own talents: MINT is fun! Together with the high quality of the courses and zdi's good network structures, this is an important contribution to securing skilled workers in the country."

Important pillar for the work of the zdi community

The funding program has been a central building block for the work of the zdi networks and zdi student laboratories from the very beginning. Wolfgang Jung, Managing Director of the Gelsenkirchen Science Park, describes it like this: “Together with schools, companies and universities, we are developing courses for and with young people from the seventh grade upwards, in which they deal in depth with STEM professions and study courses. Professions such as mechatronics, but also plant mechanics and environmental engineers are presented. Thanks to the donation for lecturer costs, we are able to establish a stable offer here and thus strengthen entire cohorts in their professional development.

Conclusion of the young people: confirmation of professional decisions

Of course, those responsible are most interested in the feedback from the young people. For Sina, Ben and Batoul, participation in the project course meant one thing above all: to deal with mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology outside of the curriculum and to decide whether they would like a job or a degree in the STEM field at school want to connect. Their conclusion: The project course has strengthened their MINT enthusiasm and they have discovered new talents. Sina, for example, would like to become a computer scientist after graduating, while Batoul is aiming to train as a pilot. Ben is still unsure, but the zdi course gave him deeper insights into some MINT professions, so he can now find out more.

When Klaus Kaiser and Torsten Withake hear that, their laughter becomes even happier.

Due to the corona, the honoring of the students took place with a small group of participants.

Interested parties from the zdi community can find all the information on framework conditions, goals and contacts on our website zdi-BSO-MINT program.

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