The Merkuur programme has developed mobile workshops to introduce various trades, techniques and tools in the metal and wood industries to young people and to offer them hands-on opportunities to test the tasks associated with these trades in order to raise their career awareness and competitiveness in the fields of technology and engineering.
Merkuur has two mobile workshops and more than sixty different learning solutions to provide young people with hands-on opportunities to carry out tasks in metal and woodwork, electronics, bionics and many other engineering fields. The Mobile Workshops are self-built mobile classrooms and therefore workshop activities can take place all over Estonia. Schools, vocational school and other interested organizations can request the mobile classroom service at their premises.
In the beginning, the Mobile Workshop service and its activities were provided as a form of non-formal learning. Since 2018, the team has consistently worked on developing partnerships with various educational schools, vocational schools and colleges. Teachers and mentors of mobile workshops organise technology lessons, project days and hobby groups in schools. In addition to daily activities, the team has developed a modern methodological material used to introduce CNC equipment to young people and to implement their new knowledge both individually and in teams, while carrying out product development tasks, testing various material treatment methods and preparing metal and wood products with a real purpose.
The objective is to give young people practical knowledge about engineering and technology, which is measured by the number of kids participating in the activities of Mobile Workshop.
The objectives of the workshops are related to a broader government strategy to raise the popularity of engineering as a career choice due to the fact that Estonia is facing a shortage of engineers, failing to meet the current labour market demand as well as the expected demand in the future. In addition, the programme is associated with the aim to develop a research-intensive economy. By educating young people and giving them early access to hands-on engineering possibilities, it increases the interest of students in starting a career in engineering.