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Students from Baltic Gymnasium create solutions for companies at Klaipėda FEZ
Three companies operating in Klaipėda FEZ – UAB Gren Klaipėda, UAB NEO GROUP and UAB Vėjo Projektai, the creators of the Dancer bus – participated in the annual Baltic Gymnasium project for engineering students. The students were divided into thematic groups and spent the entire academic year delving into the companies’ work, technologies, and processes in mechanical engineering, automation, chemistry, and other areas and presenting final projects that tackle real business challenges.
The lockdown and remote learning did not prevent Baltic Gymnasium alongside Klaipėda companies and the city’s university from launching the third iteration of student placement in companies – a programme with a whole year of mentorship, introduction to technologies and physical sciences, and teamwork. This year’s project featured three companies operating in Klaipėda FEZ, allowing students to get acquainted with real engineering work and inviting youths to create projects relevant to real business situations – autonomous biological cleaning devices, a revolving equipment stand, and a scooter frame.
UAB Gren Klaipėda (previously Fortnum), which operates a cogeneration plant at the FEZ, has participated in the project since its inception in 2018. The company’s representative Ingrida Krivičiūtė says that this year, the project engaged with four engineering class groups: mechanical, automation, electrical, and process engineering. This year, students cooperating with Gren presented a final project of a revolving equipment stand. In addition, the company’s representative explains that to ensure the reliability of equipment at the plant and minimize maintenance costs, the cogeneration plant employs preventative device maintenance and predictive maintenance. This is based on ensuring the timely repair of devices based on their condition.
The PET manufacturer NEO GROUP worked with the four engineering student groups for the second year in a row. As a result, the four groups, which included a total of a dozen students, created a final project on autonomous biological treatment devices.
“During the project, technological blueprints were created, 3D designs were drawn up, and appropriate devices were assembled. The final “product” for the project was to have functioning treatment devices you could place on the table and actually use, with real components, a small solar generator, and parts the students would use a 3D printer to manufacture. Unfortunately, we only implemented the theoretical part this year due to the lockdown. However, the students have prepared all the information, and we plan to complete the project in the next academic year,” NEO GROUP training and development specialist Ditė Norvilė explains.
Meanwhile, UAB Vėjo Projektai, the manufacturers of the Dancer bus, joined the engineering class project for the first time this year. However, according to company representative Viktorija Jakubauskytė-Andriulienė, while universities now include core knowledge about electrical bus systems and electronics in their technological study programmes and modules, the challenge remains that students are insufficiently interested in these studies.
A total of 18 student groups presented their engineering research projects in June to the city’s companies and Klaipėda University. In addition to the FEZ’s companies, the students also worked alongside companies such as Smiltynės Perkėla, Vakarų Medienos Grupė, Klaipėdos Smeltė, Mano Būstas, Vakarų Laivų Gamykla, and Grigeo Klaipėda, as well as Klaipėda Seaport and Klaipėda University.
According to Jurgita Račkauskienė, the director of Baltic Gymnasium, the project work performed during this programme primarily aims at real-world processes, which is practical activities and not just theory. Furthermore, the aim is also to create conditions for students to develop, seek logical links and solutions, and nurture responsibility, leadership, and teamwork skills.
“We are especially glad to see the companies’ responsible outlook and desire to offer the students as much useful information as possible. Students are most motivated by practical implementation, experience, and final results. Thus, this partnership between the companies and our gymnasium proves particularly fruitful. We hope that we will be able to return to real, non-remote environments in the next academic year,” J. Račkauskienė says.