WACKER wants children and young people 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 approaches to school management. Our Group is one of the founding members of the Bavarian Educational Pact (website available in German only), 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.
Studying Chemistry with the Experiment Kit
Examine, experiment, explore − and acquire a critical educational foundation in the process. WACKER’s experiment kit for schools, CHEM2DO®, fulfills this criterion. Designed for junior and senior high school students, the kit contains 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.
A digital version of the experiment kit was launched in 2018 as well, with animations and examples of instructions from the experiment kit available online at www.chem2do.de (in German only). CHEM2DO Digital was unveiled in the fall of 2017 at a networking session for chemistry educators in Munich. WACKER also presented the experiment kit website at didacta 2018, the world’s largest education tradeshow in Hannover, Germany.
In 2018, we sponsored and organized the Young Scientists competition in Bavaria (website available in German only) for the eleventh time. We also again sponsored the Dresden/East Saxony Young Scientists Regional Competition (website available in German 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:
- WACKER’s Burghausen Vocational Training Center (BBiW; website available in German only) held career information days in July 2017 and 2018. The theme of the 2018 event was “For Anyone Wanting to Go Their Own Way.” Some 140 apprentices and 50 mentors hosted high-school students, parents and teachers throughout a diverse program in creative workshops and in our chemistry and physics laboratories. In addition, the BBiW also held a multi-day seminar for college-preparatory students and mini-internships for vocational students. Girl’s Day in 2017 and 2018 gave high-school-age girls a chance to learn about the many different training opportunities at WACKER, including professions in which women are not well represented.
- Vocational training programs at WACKER were represented at several education tradeshows in 2017 and 2018, including VOCATIUM in Munich and Dresden, STUZUBI, and the IT & Engineering student information fair in Munich. WACKER also had a presence at the Inn-Salzach education tradeshow in Mühldorf (2017) and Burghausen (2018), and at the education tradeshow in Salzburg. At VOCATIUM alone, WACKER trainees and mentors spoke with roughly 100 students about career options. While training for a career as a chemical laboratory technician generated the most interest, students also learned about business careers and work-study programs. We also shared our training opportunities in January 2017 and 2018 at the Karriere Start fair in Dresden – the largest regional training and job fair in Saxony. Those who are interested also have an opportunity each year to talk with WACKER apprentices and mentors at various regional tradeshows and events in Saxony and southern Brandenburg, including “Chance” in Oschatz, the education day hosted by the Dresden Chamber of Industry and Commerce, and the vocational training information day held directly in the company.
- WACKER has been active in Germany’s “We Together” business integration initiative since 2017. As part of its involvement, WACKER has worked to help young refugees find their bearings and receive training. This has included training for three young refugees at the BBiW – as an office manager, an electronics technician for automation technology, and as a chemical technician. A fourth apprentice found a permanent position outside of WACKER. A professional orientation week was held at the BBiW for school-age refugee children, and 17 young people participated.
- In 2018, our US production site in Charleston, Tennessee, received the “Platinum BEST Partner Award” for its partnership with Bradley Central High School in Cleveland. The aim of the cooperative effort is to advance scientific and technical education programs and to help students explore career options.