The centrepiece: The regional zdi Networks
zdi is the largest initiative in the whole of Europe aimed at securing the next generation of natural science and engineering professionals. The regional zdi Networks form the centrepiece.
A zdi Network – also referred to as a zdi Centre – is a regional bundling of players from politics, schools, universities, enterprises and other partners involved in education who wish to foster young people’s skills in STEM fields. Each zdi Network is different. Some are run by school administrators, others by economic development bodies, universities, associations or foundations. But they all have one thing in common: They focus on the concrete requirements of their own specific region.
The objective is to attract young people to a university course or vocational training in a STEM discipline through targeted zdi activities and, in so doing, to contribute to securing the next generation of STEM professionals in the region.
Higher education and career guidance in STEM fields
For local players, the regional zdi Networks are the central contact point for everything to do with supporting STEM subjects. For example, they are the first port of call for teachers who want to give their STEM lessons a more practical focus and seek contacts to universities and enterprises.
The zdi Networks also coordinate the involvement of firms and businesses and streamline higher education and career guidance measures in cooperation with enterprises, universities and employment agencies. Through broad-based practical work in the partner companies, young people can establish initial contacts to local firms and get to know different tasks and job profiles in the framework of projects and courses.
In addition, through taster courses and project weeks for schools, universities offer prospective students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the university landscape from an early stage. At the same time, the zdi Networks endeavour to introduce young people to issues which are of importance for society. Topics such as climate change, preservation of resources, biodiversity, health and nutrition raise questions which urgently await STEM answers.
An increasing number of zdi Networks also devote themselves to the development of local projects aimed at stimulating a joint innovation dialogue across all institutions and age groups on societal issues related to STEM.