Soldering, drilling, milling, grinding and designing on the computer – eleven young women get an introduction to technical careers at Brose in their first week of summer break. The twelve to 14-year-olds are participating in the “Girls for Technology Camp” organized by Bildungswerk der Bayerischen Wirtschaft. Brose has been providing real-world insights into everyday professional life during this week-long program since 2003.
The girls get a chance to experience what it is like to be a technical product designer, mechatronics technician and toolmaker at the international automotive supplier’s training workshop in Coburg. “I’m interested in technology and like to try out different things. It’s also cool to meet new people,” says 13-year-old Carolina as she solders wires to create an LED flower.
Brose instructors and apprentices assist the girls as they test their technical skills and produce their own workpieces during the week-long program. “It’s quite interesting to teach others what you just learned yourself,” says Daniel Arnold (17). He is a technical product designer apprentice and helps the camp participants design a key chain on the PC and produce it on a 3D printer. As toolmakers the young women are working on a board game and learning, among other things, how to operate a CNC milling machine. “For some of the girls the camp is a key experience: They discover how exciting technical vocations can be and have fun working on a computer, using the machines and trying out the tools,” explains Michael Stammberger, Head of Apprenticeship and Training Brose Group.
Girls for Technology Camp is an important program for the family-owned company that aims to get students excited about technical contexts while introducing them to a modern working environment. “Young people today find out as much as they can about careers before they decide on an apprenticeship program. So it is important that we provide guidance early on and also show them training opportunities in technical fields,” stresses Stammberger.
“Women make up about 25 percent of the workforce in the metal and electrical industry; many of them work in office and administrative areas,” explains Patrick Püttner, Managing Director of bayerische Metall- und Elektroarbeitgeberverbände (bayme vbm – “Bavarian metal and electrical industry employers’ associations”) in Upper Franconia. “Our goal with projects like Girls for Technology Camp is to continue to increase the female share of skilled workers in technical and engineering careers. This is important in order to ensure there are enough qualified specialists in the future,” says Püttner.
In addition to gaining practical experience in a company setting, the Girls for Technology Camps offer an interesting vacation program with group excursions and team activities. The aim is to teach participants personal responsibility and promote communication and social skills.
Around 200 girls have participated in the camp at Brose since its inception. The family-owned company has even welcomed back some girls from previous years’ camps as vocational apprentices and dual-track trainees. This year 15 companies throughout Bavaria took part in the Girls for Technology Camp andaround 3,200 participants have discovered the world of technology since the launch of the summer break program in 2002.