Electronics inspires young people to change the world
20 Sep 2011
'If you can design electronics, you can change the world' - I guess all of us somehow attached to electronics do agree that there is this kind of potential in electronics design.
Results of it can manifest themselves in a very personal change of the world, eg: for somebody who is able to hear again thanks to a cochlear implant that creates electronic signals to the brain - or a broader change like wireless communications.
Unfortunately there seems to be a barrier for young people to get into electronics as it is perceived as a difficult subject to study which is somewhat dry and lacking glamour. Indeed, electronics is challenging and complex, but there's certainly a lot of fun to be had, especially as project based learning is becoming an integral part of modern curricula. And thanks to a multitude of national and international competitions, there's also no shortage of opportunities to gain acclaim.
A couple of weeks back we had a 'Formula Student' event close by and we used it to go there and visit the competition which was really fun. It was inspiring to see young people excel in bringing their ideas to life and be passionate about designing electronics. The overall aim of the competition is for students to design and build a race car to compete against teams from all over the world. But it's not just about having the fastest car; team performance is important from various aspects as well, including a sound business plan, cost structure and sales strategy. And it's no surprise that the event incorporates a 'Formula Student Electric' category for the design of pure electric racing cars as well. Electronics is definitely changing the game in this field!
Other examples of electronics related competitions in groundbreaking new sectors to inspire bright minds include the World Solar Challenge and – for those who aspire to the moon – the Google Lunar X Prize.
And there is yet another event coming up in October, expected to attract 150,000 visitors and international acclaim. It's WorldSkills London 2011. Young people from across the world will compete to find the best in their chosen skills – and of course electronics has a role there as well. But this event is not just another good chance to spark young people's ambitions; it also seems to have the potential to transfer the educational world in Britain for good as it highlights the importance of vocational training and apprenticeships to solve the looming skills shortage. As a German who is accustomed to a strong tradition in apprenticeships, I am particularly keen to see how this is going to unfold and am really looking forward to the event as such.
Go WorldSkills, go!
Frank Krämer, technical marketing director, EMEA, Altium Europe
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