EnergyLab – the Student laboratory in the Science Park
Topic of the practice
The EnergyLab project creates a place outside the school for students to engage in practical learning and receive career guidance in the renewable energies and climate protection technology sectors.
Good Practice Information
The German economy is lacking around 90,000 personnel with qualifications in the mathematics, IT, natural sciences and technology fields in Spring 2011. It is estimated that several billion euros are lost to the economy as a result. There are fears that the lack of specialists in many fields will hold back economic development in the long term. Developing a medium and long-term strategy to counteract this is important. The core elements are the reinforcement of technical and science teaching in schools and informing school-level students at an early stage about career prospects in these fields. The EnergyLab project creates a place outside the school for students to engage in practical learning and receive career guidance in the renewable energies and climate protection technology sectors.
It has been established on a site measuring approximately 300m² by converting a former laboratory in the Science Park Gelsenkirchen. It encompasses two laboratories with 16 workplaces each.
At the heart of the project is a series of experiments carried out by the students. A core component of the service is a scheme to provide deeper career guidance, which is implemented in cooperation with businesses from around the region, particularly in the form of company or project tours.
Working groups for afternoon activities are continuously offered to students over the course of a semester, and these are specifically aimed to students aged from 14 to 16 in Gelsenkirchen’s secondary schools. This actively completes the growing number of all-day schools as they strive to develop an attractive programme for the afternoon courses.
The student laboratory programme can also be booked for the mornings for school classes and groups of students from the local region and beyond. The service includes “project days” during which practical experience is combined with career guidance information. Special events such as Girls Day or technical camp for girls are also organized.
Evidence of success
Infrastructure and equipment was sponsored by the German Federal Government, the State Government of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Gelsenkirchen.
Operation is co-sponsored by the German Federal Work Agency as a career guidance scheme, the energy company RWE as the main sponsor and various businesses, foundations and initiatives as additional sponsors.
The construction work, initial equipment and concept development of the laboratory was financed by means of the German Investment Support Act of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Science Park’s own contribution totalled 12.5%.
Costs of around 480,000 euros were calculated for the operation of the student laboratory for an initial 2.5 years, with part of this being private funding acquired from businesses and foundations and amounting to 200,000 euros to date. The German Federal Work Agency in Gelsenkirchen contributes to 49.9% of the total costs.
Private sponsorship and donations totals 50 to 70% of the annual operating costs.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Science Park Gelsenkirchen
Annex completed on: 03-27-2012