The Airbus Little Engineer programme in South Africa marked a key milestone, reaching its 600th learner with its latest Space workshop held today in Soweto.
The programme, run in partnership with local NGO Africa Teen Geeks, aims to encourage school pupils between the age of 10 and 16 to embrace and become passionate about technology, with a view to pursuing career opportunities in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Aerospace, an industrial sector South Africa’s government has identified as strategic for its economic development and diversification.
The four-hour milestone workshop attended by 30 learners from the Vezokuhle Primary School in Orlando, Soweto, focused on Space and satellite technology. During the workshop, participants assembled a rocket, performed a simulated space mission launch to Mars and established communications with it.
“We are very excited to be partnering with the Airbus Foundation. The Airbus Little Engineer initiative goes hand-in-glove with our approach to education, where we focus on bridging skills gaps in computer sciences as it is taught at schools in previously-disadvantaged communities,” said Lindiwe Matlali, CEO Africa Teen Geeks.
“South Africa enjoys a proud tradition of science and engineering. But with the parallel imperatives of social transformation and economic diversification, it is crucial to nurture and skill youngsters so they are prepared and equipped with the knowledge, skills and tools required to find work, launch new enterprises and prosper in our increasingly digital, connected, technology-dependent and globally competitive world,” explained Andrea Debanne, Executive Director of the Airbus Foundation.
With the continent’s working-age populace set to explode from around 500 million to over 1.1 billion by 2040 and rapid urbanisation, there is a pressing need to facilitate access to STEM skills for todays’ youngsters, who will go on to define and determine the continent’s economies and societies, Airbus said.
“Established in 2012, the Airbus Foundation Little Engineer programme is an effective vehicle for discovery-based learning which is dedicated to enlightening and empowering youth in the areas of science and technology through robotics and aerospace,” Airbus concluded.