As tech sector is growing by the minute, it is no wonder STEM disciplines have become sort of a holy grail of modern day education. However, young people are often afraid to go into the tech field, and a lot of times end up pursuing another career path. This leads to numerous economic consequences, among them a hyper production of managerial professions, while those who are supposed to be managed are nowhere to be found.
EXIT Centre, a company behind the creation and launch of Robokids, the first STEM Centre in Bosnia and Herzegovina, believes it is crucial to induce curiosity for science and technology early in life, although it is never too late to start developing a new skill. Supported by USAID/Save the Children and Swiss Government, Robokids will be the first of its kind, aiming to create a community, rather than merely a series of courses.
‘Robotics, autonomous cars and Internet of things are no longer wishful thinking for the future, but a reality we live in. While ICT sector creates 120 000 annual vacancies in European Union, our society is stuck in the past, largely due to outdated educational system’, EXIT Centre stated. Launching in December 2017., Robokids will carry out dozen of STEM related courses, catering both to children and adults. Located in the center of Banja Luka, Robokids will occupy a two storey space of 230 m2, featuring large classrooms, coworking space and open hangout areas.
Equipped with world class tech education equipment such as Lego WeDo, Lego Mindstorm and m:Bot robot kits, Robokids will also provide the best possible learning conditions for its youngest students by ensuring all teachers go through Child Protection Policy training beforehand. Partnering with Save The Children, Robokids intends to put a major emphasis on comfort levels and equality among students.
Besides children, adults will also be an important part of Robokids community, with numerous programming, creative lab and intercultural courses tailored to provide them with knowledge that will fit and sustain itself in the ever changing modern day job market. With more than half of global 10 most in-demand professions being STEM occupations, analysts predict there will be around 800 000 empty ICTS vacancies by the end of 2020. in European Union alone. According to Forbes, ‘What we see is an increasing demand for people to have some type of advanced skill and that advanced skill is falling more and more into STEM related areas.’
Emphasizing that there are no unemployed IT professionals in Banja Luka nor region, Robokids hopes to improve general socioeconomic situation by providing adult learners with top notch, yet affordable opportunities to learn and get ahead in highly sought after STEM related disciplines. Besides training, students will also get a unique chance to network and connect with other tech trainees and professionals in the Centre built-in coworking and lounge space. ‘Highly popular, especially among freelancers and beginners, coworking spaces are an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to spread their horizons and learn new skills in a cool, modern environment’, Robokids Centre stresses, adding that their coworking space prices will be the most affordable in the city and beyond.
Besides regular courses and coworking opportunities, Robokids will also launch numerous projects via its platform, most notably RoboChats, a tech themed take on TED Talks. Featuring distinguished speakers from both Bosnia and Herzegovina and well as many other countries, it will be free and based on modern, cutting edge topics in the world of STEM, such as 3D Printing, Digital Marketing and Internet of Things.
Weekly or biweekly held, it will be a first event of its sort in Banja Luka, opening the world of technology and science from the perspective of esteemed experts to all citizens of the city. Except being merely a series of speeches, RoboChats aims to create an atmosphere of dialogue where speakers will be sharing their professional experiences with the audience in a very casual and insightful way. A number of other projects is also in the making, all of which will surely mark a turning point in the creation and development of high tech community in Banja Luka.
Currently still taking in trainers and volunteers to join the Center, Robokids hopes to bring young tech enthusiasts together into a project that will only grow with time and become one of the staples of Banja Luka. Whether students or simply tech geeks, teacher or professionals, all those who wish to become a part of Robokids story have a chance to join the team and give their own contribution.
Aspiring trainers are welcome to make course suggestions, while volunteers can apply to participate in various steps of creation and development of the project, meeting new people and getting their ideas heard. Whatever the cause, those who join Robokids, whether as trainers, volunteers or trainees, will be an important part of city’s history and its relatively new, yet unseen subculture.