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3 minute read

Bosch launches Smart Future schools challenge

Bosch has launched its Smart Future Challenge to spark the imagination of Buckinghamshire students’ around science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

The global technology company has its UK headquarters in the Buckinghamshire town of Denham. It designed the challenge with support from local STEM Ambassador Hubs, Buckinghamshire Skills Hub and STEM Now to shine a light on the range of STEM career opportunities available for young people in the area. Buckinghamshire is an ideal location for the trial as it has a low level of STEM Ambassador engagement, meaning many young people miss out on the inspiration that can be critical in shaping their career aspirations.

Bosch has launched a new challenge for Year 10 students in Buckinghamshire / Picture: Getty/iStock


The Smart Future Challenge will see teams of Year 10 students from St Michael’s Catholic School in High Wycombe tackle a creative, real-world STEM challenge. Their brief will be to design a technology solution that helps improve transport in their local area, then create an implementation plan to boost growth and the involve local businesses. Taking part in the challenge will expose students to different kinds of STEM roles, including project management, design, engineering and research and highlight the range of skills needed.

The challenge is split into multiple sessions with an initial briefing on 14th November, the challenge day on 20th November and culminates in the prize giving on the 4th December where the three top scoring teams will be announced. The winning teams will receive prizes at the ceremony held on 4th December, including a private film screening at Pinewood Studios. Bosch will also offer 10 students a work experience placement at the Company’s headquarters in 2019.

Steffen Hoffmann, President at Bosch UK said:”Failing to tackle the engineering skills gap here in the UK will leave the nation without a key part of the workforce needed to drive our future growth. STEM initiatives designed to simulate interest in engineering often fail to engage young people because they are not meaningful within their lives and communities. An effective initiative needs to do more than just tick a box, it needs to connect with their imaginations and ambitions.

“With the rapid development of technology currently and growing skills gap, we need to inspire our young people to help shape the world around them. A STEM career gives them the opportunity to do just that. I am delighted we are launching the Smart Future challenge with the help of a local school. As a global company, Bosch is involved in helping to solve some of the big challenges facing society, but we know the local roots we have in areas like Buckinghamshire will help us find the talent to be successful”

Bosch wants to encourage a passion for STEM in students at a younger age to support addressing the UK’s engineering skills gap / Picture: Getty/iStock


Encouraging young people to take an interest in STEM subjects and careers is a real challenge. In 2017, the ‘State of Engineering’ report showed the highest vacancy ratio in the labour force since 2001, at 2.6 job vacancies for every 100 jobs filled. ‘Leakage’ from the talent pipeline is also a major problem.  Research shows the number of 16 to 19 year olds in the UK that would consider an engineering career drops by 20% compared to those at aged 11 to 14.

The Bosch Smart Future challenge will help address this by providing students with an opportunity to engage with real STEM workers who can open their eyes to what a career in the field could look like. The students will get to work with our STEM Ambassadors and Associates from across the Bosch portfolio as they will be conducting, mentoring and judging the challenge.

Women remain particularly underrepresented in STEM careers at all levels.  As part of this challenge, Bosch will be providing female students with access to the inspirational women within its STEM ambassador programme.

Richard Harrington, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “We are excited to be working with Bosch on the development of this dynamic school competitive skills challenge for year 10 students in Buckinghamshire.

“Young people benefit hugely from encounters with employers to raise careers awareness and develop skills for the work place. One of our key aims is to bridge the gap between education and employment, and this challenge delivers on that.”

Monika Grosch, Careers and Work Related Learning Coordinator at St Michael’s Catholic School concluded: “At St. Michael’s Catholic School we are committed to inspire, to nurture, to challenge and guide.

“We aim to provide opportunities for all and want to encourage students’ inquisitiveness in all areas including STEM topics. Therefore we are looking forward to participating with our year 10 students in the Bosch Smart Future Challenge and raise awareness about STEM career paths.”