WACKER wants children to be excited about technology and the natural sciences. After all, as a chemical company, we are going to need outstanding scientists in the future – a goal we are pursuing in a variety of ways.
WACKER supports progressive teaching methods and modern school management systems. Our Group is one of the founding members of the Bavarian Educational Pact, a foundation comprising 143 companies that has joined the state of Bavaria in sponsoring various projects at public schools. The aim of all of these projects is to modernize the Bavarian educational system.
Examine, experiment, explore − and acquire a critical educational foundation in the process. WACKER’s new experimental kit for schools, CHEM2DO fulfills this criterion. The company officially presented the kit to the Bavarian Ministry for Education and Culture in 2013. Designed for junior and senior high school students, the kit contains a total of eight experiments involving silicones and cyclodextrins. Chemistry teachers who want to do the experiments in class receive training at teacher-training centers run throughout Germany by the Society of German Chemists and at select universities. The kit is supplied to schools free of charge. WACKER hopes that the kit will spark an interest in chemistry among young people and provide chemistry teachers with teaching aids featuring innovative materials.
Because one in eight employees at the Burghausen site is from nearby Austria, WACKER has also been working with the Association of Austrian Chemistry Teachers (Verband der Chemielehrer Österreichs, VCÖ) to provide training for CHEM2DO. This partnership began in 2013. Also during the period under review, WACKER revised the content of three silicone experiments in the kit to meet the specific needs of Bavarian secondary vocational schools. The aim here was to make chemistry a more tangible component of the combined Physics, Chemistry and Biology (PCB) course offered at these schools.
Beginning in 2014, teachers who use CHEM2DO at locations near our sites can invite a trained company employee to visit their schools. These WACKER ambassadors assist teachers, help students with their experiments and talk about their day-to-day work. In this way, the school ambassador program does more than just provide two helping hands – it also conveys a passion for experimenting.
Undersecretary Bernd Sibler (right) and WACKER Executive Board member Dr. Tobias Ohler conducted a joint experiment when the CHEM2DO experiment kit was presented to Bavaria’s Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs.
WACKER supports Science-Lab, a private-sector educational initiative that awakens children’s interest in science at an early age (Science-Lab website available in German only). At our sites in Germany, we finance one-day Science Lab training seminars for preschool and elementary school teachers, and provide a discovery box – a tool that teaches children biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy and the earth sciences in a child-friendly way. During the period under review, WACKER financed Science Lab experiment fairs in Burghausen for children during the summer vacation.
In 2014 we took the helm as statewide sponsor and organizer of the “Young Scientists” competition in Bavaria for the ninth time (German-language website only). We also again sponsored the Dresden/East Saxony Young Scientists Regional Competition (German-language website only). In 1998, WACKER began its involvement in Europe’s largest competition for young people in the natural sciences, mathematics and technology.
All WACKER sites help young people prepare for a profession. At career days and student workshops, our employees introduce high-school students to jobs in the chemical industry and teach them practical skills. The following are a few examples from the period under review:
- Nünchritz High School organizes Class 21 each year in collaboration with WACKER’s Nünchritz plant and the Anerkannte Schulgesellschaft, a private education company in Saxony. This multi-disciplinary project allows seventh graders to try out different jobs, learning about a range of different professions – such as chemist, environmental researcher or fire safety expert – over the course of a week.
- WACKER provides the Liangfeng Senior High School in Zhangjiagang with funding for 25 students and six teachers who distinguish themselves through outstanding academic achievements. In particular, the WACKER scholarship provides financial support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Additionally, WACKER experts share their know-how at the high school by giving specialized classroom instruction on industrial silicone applications.
- In 2014, the WACKER HELP employee initiative provided financial support for 29 children from disadvantaged families in Fujia, a village in the Sichuan province of central China. In addition, WACKER Greater China’s regional relief organization has been providing free hot lunches to students at WACKER Primary School in Fujia since 2011.
- Girls’ Day: WACKER’s Burghausen Vocational Training Center (BBiW) participates in this nationwide career information fair every year. Girls attending the event learn about careers as industrial mechanics, electrical maintenance and automation technicians, and chemical technicians.