Why is Bosch involved in the Wissensfabrik educational initiative?
Czock: “Education is the key to Germany’s future viability. This is why Bosch supports education and entrepreneurship. We want to help familiarize children and school students in particular with technical topics at an early age. One of our goals is to encourage girls to pursue careers in this field. Bosch is also supporting innovative entrepreneurs with potential for jobs with a promising future in Germany. To do so, we have helped found the Wissensfabrik. For more than ten years, our associates – from apprentices to the chairman of the supervisory board – have been involved in this alliance with the common goal of preparing the next generation for the future. We see this commitment as part of the company’s duty to act in a socially responsible manner, as set forth by our company founder.”
What advantages does this offer educational institutions and Bosch in particular?
Czock: “Bosch supports the educational activities of interested schools and kindergartens. As part of a partnership, we work together on Wissensfabrik projects and share expertise. Our trainers and apprentices are involved in many of these projects. Working with the children is a learning experience for them and gives them new ideas for their everyday working life. For our apprentices, it is part of their occupational training to help them develop professional and interpersonal competence. Schools benefit from materials that are based on science and can be used in teaching throughout Germany. The Wissensfabrik’s projects are also adapted to the school curriculum, ensuring an optimum mix of theoretical and practical knowledge. Day care centers have access to tried-and-tested teaching materials that truly inspire children.”
Can you give us specific examples of your commitment?
Czock: “In a wide range of Wissensfabrik projects, Bosch is dedicated to educating children and young people. The focus is on teaching technical, scientific, and business knowledge. The projects also promote reading, writing, and math skills. Throughout Germany, Bosch is involved in 300 educational partnerships with kindergartens and schools. One focal point for us is the project ‘Kinder entdecken Technik’ (children discover technology), or KiTec for short. Children plan technical projects such as the construction of bridges, towers, or treasure chests and make their plans a reality. They are supervised by educators or teachers trained by us. In many places, the children work with our apprentices on projects on site or have access to an apprentices’ workshop at Bosch. In the IT2School project, we impart digital knowledge and introduce young people to IT basics.”
What sets the Wissensfabrik apart from other educational initiatives?
Czock: “The Wissensfabrik is an alliance of companies and foundations that sees itself as a cooperative network. The focus is on learning with each other and from each other. It is not about financial support or marketing activities, but rather about the personal commitment of many people and their knowledge. A few hundred Bosch associates are already involved in our nationwide educational partnerships. Many of our retired top managers are also active as mentors. We also appreciate the fact that the initiative for a partnership must always come from the day care center or school, and that the Wissensfabrik stands for quality, transparency, and neutrality.”
What makes the Wissensfabrik a lasting success?
Czock: “Bosch sees the main success of the Wissensfabrik in the fact that it is a real cooperative network. For example, our apprentices, experts, and top managers have the opportunity to contribute their full passion and expertise. They help light a spark for young people and bring the partnership to life. It is also important that the members are interested in long-term cooperation. This shows many schools and kindergartens how seriously we take the whole thing. Through this approach and the focus on education and entrepreneurship, we are making a lasting contribution to getting the next generation ready for the future. Today, the organization has already trained some 12,000 teachers, reached more than 700,000 children, and supported almost 200 start-ups. Many Bosch associates have been actively involved.”
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 390,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2016). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of 73.1 billion euros in 2016. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected industry. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life, and to improve quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 450 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 120 locations across the globe, Bosch employs 59,000 associates in research and development.
The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.