This post was originally published in 2012. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.
There was a lot going on as I made my way through our training center yesterday, as April 26th was Girls’ Day at SMA which gave female students from the 5th grade on a chance to take a closer look at future jobs in technical fields. On this day, some 90 participants (30 of which were even boys) made electronic LED cubes.
Many Little Components, One Printed Circuit Board
Paula (l.) and Jana find that soldering isn´t hard.
It all looked very tricky. There were tiny components and red LEDs and capacitors strewn across every table top. Under the direction of an SMA apprentices, the girls had to solder these tiny components onto a printed circuit board, but I think they did a fantastic job with those 350°C soldering irons! „We have a workshop at school and I tried a soldering iron there once,“ said one of the participants, Paula Kehl. Even her neighbor, Jana Dehnert, who had never soldered before, found the activity to be „not all that difficult,“ as Kevin Klein (one of the apprentices in electronics for devices and systems) declared, „the girls are doing a great job… it’s way more difficult than playing with Legos.“
Treble Clerfs and Certificates
Celia put the little components on.
The apprentices were eager to help and patient in answering all the girls’ questions. „What is this tinsel stuff?“ Is just one such question posed by Celia Falkenreck. Karsten Schnare, an EGS apprentice, explained to her that the steel wool in question was used to clean the tips of the soldering irons and promptly showed her how to use it. Those who finished soldering particularly quickly had the opportunity to make a treble clef out of wire before it was off to lunch with the gang (naturally with spaghetti bolognese). At the end, each participant received a certificate, a t-shirt and got to keep the things they had made. I asked around but most of the girls had not yet decided if they were interested in pursuing a career in a technical field. Paula did, however, say „it was great to take part in this girls’ day!“
About Girls’ Day
Girls’ Day, for the purpose of exposing young women to possible future careers, has taken place every April since 2001. The purpose of this initiative is to get girls and young women interested in pursuing careers in the fields of natural sciences, IT, construction and technology. Organizations and companies from all across Germany take part in the initiative annually.