BlackBerry and Junior Achievement nurture STEM skills for students in South Africa

Innovation Camp winners to represent South Africa at international BlackBerry Junior Achievement final.

May 23, 2013

Innovation Camp winners to represent South Africa at international BlackBerry Junior Achievement final

The BlackBerry® STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Innovation Camp in collaboration with Junior Achievement returned to South Africa on Friday 17th May 2013, giving high school learners the opportunity to enhance their technology skills and creativity by working on a mobile innovation challenge.

The event is one of 14 BlackBerry Innovation Camps with Junior Achievement that are taking place across the world this year. At each camp, BlackBerry employees spend the day working as volunteer mentors to the learners.

The initiative aims to encourage learners to consider STEM careers by raising awareness of the field’s possibilities and showcasing industry role models. It builds a bridge between the classroom and the workplace by aligning education with business needs.

Sixty-eight high-school learners from 3 public schools took part in the Innovation Challenge. School learners aged 16 to 18 years worked in teams to create an idea for a mobile application that could be used by learners in the classroom. Learners created sales plans in support of their mobile app concept, and the winning team was chosen by a panel of judges which included Linda McClure – Managing Director of Junior Achievement South Africa, Jayshree Naidoo – Executive: Innovation Thought Leadership at The Da Vinci Institute, Kath Smith – BlackBerry Senior Marketing Manager and Trust Chibawara – International Project Manager for the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences Next Einstein Initiative.

At the end of an exciting day filled with challenges and a tremendous amount of innovative thinking, The Chronicle Smarties from Allanridge Secondary School and Ivory Park Secondary School were chosen as the winning team.

“BlackBerry understands just how important science and technology knowledge is to create opportunities for the younger generation and support Africa’s ambition to become a hub for innovation excellence,” said Alexandra Zagury, the Managing Director for South and Southern Africa. “Innovation is part of our DNA and BlackBerry has long supported STEM education around the world, and in South Africa. Through our partnership with Junior Achievement and the STEM innovation camps, we are continuing to foster an environment of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking.”