Junior Achievement South Africa launches Innovation Camps with support from BlackBerry

South Africa, 17 May 2013: Junior Achievement South Africa today announced it is working with BlackBerry® to kick off the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Innovation Camps, with 1,000 high-school learners from 14 countries expected to compete. Supported by volunteer mentors from BlackBerry, the learners will be tasked to come up with solutions to a variety of STEM related business challenges.

Aiming to motivate learners aged 15-18 to consider STEM oriented careers, the Innovation Camps are an initiative developed through a collaboration between BlackBerry and JA-YE Europe.

The Innovation Camps help raise awareness among secondary school learners of STEM related business challenges, showcase industry role models, and lead the way to showing that skills-based Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes have a vital role to play in the future of education and aligning curriculums with business needs.

During the Innovation Camps, the learners can develop practical business skills and are encouraged to adopt entrepreneurial thinking. The events focus on fostering young people’s problem solving and innovation skills. Learners are given a specific challenge to solve within a set period of time. The link between business and education helps students to develop skills that are relevant to the workplace and allows them to apply their academic learning to real life situations.

“Recently the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report ranked South Africa’s Maths and Science education second last in the world. This embarrassing position clearly demonstrates the need for us to promote and provide support for subjects such as Maths, Science, Technology and Engineering,” noted Linda McClure, Managing Director of Junior Achievement South Africa. “The Blackberry Innovation camps are a prime example of an inventive way for corporates to aid the Basic Education Department in improving the level of Maths and Science skills in our learners.”

“BlackBerry was built on innovation and is a strong supporter of science, engineering, technology and math in education. We are proud to support Junior Achievement as they engage young people and encourage them to think outside of the box,” said Renata Rusiniak, Manager, Citizenship at BlackBerry.

Learners, mentored by volunteers from BlackBerry, may enter in teams to develop solutions related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. The winning team from South Africa will compete globally in an online final against the other national winning teams worldwide on June 13, 2013.

In South Africa, the STEM Innovation Camp will take place on 17 May 2013 at Gold Reef City Theme Park.

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About the STEM Innovation Camps

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Innovation Camps is an initiative developed through a collaboration between BlackBerry and Junior Achievement Young Enterprise Europe – Europe’s largest provider of entrepreneurship education programmes. Fourteen JA-YE organizations from Italy, Spain, Sweden, United Arabic Emirates, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India and China are organizing STEM Innovation Camps.

About Junior Achievement South Africa

Junior Achievement South Africa (JASA) provides engaging entrepreneurial programmes which foster confident, empowered young people who are possibility seekers and creators of opportunities. Through these programmes JASA aims to contribute to meaningful economic participation by nurturing entrepreneurial thinking among young people. For the past 33 years, Junior Achievement South Africa, a non-governmental organisation supported by Junior Achievement Worldwide, has been providing these essential business and entrepreneurial skills to young people of all ages, across the country, in both rural and urban environments. Children as young as 10 years of age are exposed to entrepreneurial and business activities in a fun and interactive manner. The core programme is one for young people between the ages of 16 to 25, where under the guidance of highly trained facilitators, participants are introduced to key business concepts, after which they launch and manage a real small business. Supported by Junior Achievement Worldwide, JASA is a nationwide, autonomous, non-profit association. Subject to the governance of an independent Board of Directors, JASA provides its stakeholders with responsible, effective management. http://www.jasa.org.za

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