Grade 8 Careers Education: Schau Rein – Workplace Visits and a Careers Workshop
The week of 14th to 18th March 2022 saw Saxony’s annual ‘Schau Rein: Tag der Offenen Unternehmen’ event return following two years of a limited, virtual offering. Twenty grade 8 students took part in Schau Rein events, from visits to notary offices to a day spent with the Zoll (customs police). Another eight students visited a range of local firms- the Botanical Gardens, a lab of the Umweltforschungszentrum, a local architect’s firm and the Median Klinikum – facilitated by parents offering to open up their doors for a few hours; particular thanks go to Niculina Muscat and Cornelia Wagnermeyer who helped make this possible. Some of the students’ insights and reports on these experiences can be found below.
The remaining students took part in a full day careers workshop in school, during which they were tasked with producing an infographic for a career area or job of their choice, as well as a CV for a Superhero – see below for some examples! However, perhaps the most useful and enduring part of the day was a question and answer session with a number of LIS/LIK parents who shared their own career paths with the students as well as giving valuable advice on how to approach career decision-making.
A huge thank you to Silke Plesch, James Wyatt, Tiffany Knight, Jon Riedmann, Charlotte Kulow, Kosta Harlan, Rihab Omer and Tamara Tal for offering up their time to speak to the grade 8s. And well done to the Grade 8s for their efforts and enthusiasm throughout the day!
Workplace Visit Reports:
For the workplace visit, I and someone else decided to visit an architecture firm in the Waldstraßenviertel. The person who was my host named Frau Krauspenhaar gave us a tour of the place which was a small architecture firm. Afterward she explained to us the basics of it and the planning phase of the construction which fun fact it can take up to two years to get the required permit to even start construction. So after that she handed us off to a colleague who showed us what he was doing designing windows for a restoration of a house. Afterward we then read books about architecture for an hour. Shortly after the hour we had an online meeting with a university student studying architecture. We asked him questions about how he found the assignments and so on and so forth that went on for about half an hour. After that the work visit day was over.
I learned from that minimum of how long it takes to get the permission to build something in Saxony is 2 years. I also learned that the amount of paperwork is obscene.
I would recommend this activity to others as I found it very interesting and enjoyable. I also learnt a lot from the people, for example that most of the assessments are creative assessments for architecture.
The workshop was very interesting at the start but after the first 4 hours, it slowly got repätative and boring. We started by all introducing ourselves and talking about what hobbies we have and so on. Then they introduced us to the company and what they do. This part was not interesting because they already told us about this before we signed up for this course. Then they started to talk about how to become a member of NATT Date and what you need as qualifications. This was interesting because it is important to know what is needed to become a part of them. Later that day they then also had some workers come in and talk about their work experience. Also, they then split us into two groups. One would focus on the programming part and the other focus on the server part of the company. Other that we had another small feedback round and then we said goodbye.
I have learned a lot about the company and what they are doing and the work experience there is. To what qualifications are needed and so on. Sadly the group work on servers or programing (I was in the server group) was not very interesting. It could have been if the level would have been higher. But they only taught things I already knew.
I would recommend it to other students if they are Tec interested and think they might do something like that in the future. If not, this would be really boring.
I went to the Median Klinik in Leipzig. We had a tour of the place and people explained to us about what they did. They showed me how it is in their category of medicine and even let us try a lot of things. All in all I learned from this experience that I want to go in a different direction than that is in the median Klinik. This is good for me because I know in grade 10 I want to go to a hospital for a practical workplace visit. I really recommend it to people but it is very tiring. I now have a more clear idea of where I want to go to the other practical work in later life.
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
In the first 30 minutes or so, we had a chat about the UFZ in general and were showed a Power Point presentation about scientific research in Germany and what institutions exist. Afterwards, we visited a couple of labs that were used for the preparation of samples for the microscopes we visited shortly after. We got to use the microscope for a bit and viewed some samples that were coincidentally already prepared in the lab. We learnt how to use the program that provided an interface on the computer on which one could ‘remote control’ the microscope, select different channels and layer these over each other when taking a picture. After a lunch break at the cafeteria, we got to see and use a helium-ionising microscope that is used for high-definition imaging and were explained how it worked by a physicist.
I learnt a lot about how these institutions function and what their goal in the long run is. For example, the UFZ is part of the Helmholtz organisation that always sets programs for a duration of seven years with always a different goal. Also, I got to see the professional labs and saw some professional microscopes and was explained how they worked and what they are used for.
I would very much recommend this experience to other students because it gives a detailed insight into scientific research that extends beyond school and university labs. Also, it is very interesting to hear about how these institutions function and what they are there for.
Botanical Garden Leipzig
I visited the botanical garden at the University of Leipzig. Frau Lohs, who spent the day with us and showed us all around, was extremely nice. We arrived at 8 am and Fr. Lohs showed us to the top floor of the building to drop off our bags and coats. Then she explained to us what the botanical garden is and what the plan for the day was. After that, she showed us around the garden and explained how it is divided into different sections depending on the origins of the plants. For example, there were plants from the west of North America and the east. Then there was the European section. She also brought us to other gardens which were outside the botanical garden. These were medicinal plants and poisonous plants. Then there was a garden where blind people can touch and smell plants. After that, we had a lunch break and we were allowed to explore the greenhouse. It contains some animals like poisonous frogs (in a cage) and a butterfly room. Then we went to the biology college and we met a man who showed us the cataloging of many plants. He also took us to a room and explained some plants to us and gave us a quiz about plants. That concluded our tour and it was time to go! I really enjoyed the day because it was really interesting and I learned a lot.
Siemens AG, Electronic systems
In the beginning, we were greeted at the entrance and split into 2 groups. The first one watched a presentation and the other took a tour and then the groups swapped. I was in group 1, so we watched a presentation about how you apply and what you do here. Afterwards, I took a look around with my tour guide and the rest of the group and got to see the different sectors and who builds what and what different rooms are used for.
I learned that you need 2 years of training to become a basic engineer or 3 and a half years to become an advanced engineer. The year is split into half years, and while you are doing studies you get paid 1500 euro per half year and the minimum pay for an engineer is 2000 euro and the maximum is 8000 euro, however you can only get 8000 after getting promoted several times and working at Siemens for 5 years or more. I also learned that Siemens manufactures everything by hand and hardly has any automatic machinery.
I would only recommend this to other students if they are looking for a monotone job where you basically do the same exact thing every day and rarely come up with ideas and innovations, because (from what I understood and saw) as an engineer you only build the same thing since Siemens needs to “Mass produce” because it needs to sell the same thing again and again, therefore you will be building the same machine again and again unless you have an idea and the company accepts it, in which case you build your idea again and again.
The students, who took part in a full-day career workshop at school, had the task of creating a superhero CV as well as an info-graphic for a career field or profession of their choice – here are some examples:
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