The Labexchange Award 2017 goes to the Bochum school cooperative RCA
The Labexchange Award 2017 was presented on 13 December 2017 in Burladingen. The Labexchange Foundation is honouring a unique company, set up and run independently by students of the TBS1 school in Bochum.
Trainees Celina Kaufhold and Deniz Hartwig, representing the registered school cooperative RuhrChemAlytic eSG (RCA), set off early in the morning on their 500-km journey to Burladingen in southern Germany. The head of the School of Chemical Engineering and member of the supervisory board of the RCA, Dr Ingo Tausendfreund, accompanied his two students, who are members of the school cooperative’s management board.
The RCA is a company formed as part of a school project at the technical and vocational college TBS1 in Bochum. Its core competences lie in the analysis of water and heavy metals. The TBS1 student company sets a milestone in Germany’s educational landscape. The RCA is run independently and on their own initiative by trainees from the “Chemical-Technical Assistant” course. They meet every week in their free time at the training laboratories of the TBS1 to carry out analyses and work on research projects.
“Choosing the recipient of the Labexchange Award 2017 was by no means easy,” Dr Wolfgang Kuster admits at the beginning of his speech in front of the representatives of the RCA and employees from Labexchange. “However, the unique, highly practical and extremely motivating form of chemistry training we witnessed on our visit to Bochum goes far beyond the “standard education” offered in schools,” Kuster added. He explained the choice as follows: “Alongside their normal course programme, the young chemists work independently and voluntarily on research projects and analysis assignments for local companies and therefore gain practical insights above and beyond a purely theoretical approach. This allows them to immediately apply what they have learned in a business environment.“
As part of the awards ceremony, the students presented their company to those present and accepted the Labexchange Award on behalf of the other members of its management board. The award was symbolised by the handing-over of a glass stela and a certificate. The RCA will receive support in the form of laboratory equipment and services to the value of around 3,000 euros.
Every year, the Labexchange Foundation – Wolfgang-Kuster-Stiftung acknowledges projects which are characterised by a high degree of individual initiative, which particularly stand out in the field of research or education and training and which fulfil the foundation’s criteria. Sponsorship takes the form of provision of analytic laboratory equipment free of charge or other financial resources. The backdrop to this is the core business of Labexchange, from which the foundation emerged. Labexchange deals in second-hand laboratory equipment and offers its customers services which prolong the service life of their laboratory devices. “In our ‘throwaway society’, this marks a significant step towards boosting sustainability,” Celina Kaufhold concludes.