VIVES launches Repair Teens project to make young people enthusiastic about STEM

Repair Teens is a collaboration between the Academy of Technology, an initiative of VIVES Hogeschool, and the project partners BEMAS vzw, POM, Repair&Share (known from the Repair Cafés) and a group of industrial partners. The project wants to make the target group of 12 to 14 year olds enthusiastic about STEM and show how they can have a positive impact on and contribute to a more sustainable world thanks to STEM itself. Repair Teens not only provides the youngsters with STEM knowledge and skills, but also gives them informal 21st century skills such as entrepreneurship, digital skills, working together, problem solving, and care for the environment and nature. The Repair Teens project is realised with the active support of the Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Youngsters are allowed to work themselves under supervision to solve real business and social challenges. STEM knowledge and competences are the key to this. This should inspire them to see STEM as a positive and obvious choice in their further studies and careers. With the focus on 'maintenance & repair' Repair Teens wants to enthuse young people in particular about the importance of maintenance & repair as part of the circular economy and to help them achieve a better flow of young people to maintenance professions in industrial companies.


What does Repair Teens want to achieve?

Repair Teens develops together with young people and companies a new extracurricular STEM trajectory, completely (and for the first time) dedicated to maintenance & repair. The project consists of two parts: open introductory sessions at companies from various sectors and at Repair Cafés throughout Flanders. During these sessions, young people can solve real life cases of companies and social challenges themselves. They are also introduced to the importance and impact of circular economics, and how they can contribute to this themselves. They also get the chance to take a guided tour behind the scenes at the company or get to work as fixers in the Repair Café.

Young people who have a taste for it can commit themselves to part two: a route with twelve consecutive sessions (duration of one semester), in which permanent teams of young people solve a maintenance or repair challenge under supervision. An innovative app for digital instructions will also be used. 

Through BEMAS, four industrial companies have committed themselves to the project. They each come from a different province and sector: Evonik, Norbord, Vandemoortele, Volvo Cars Ghent. A fifth BEMAS member,, will provide a digital tool with which the young people will receive the right instructions to carry out maintenance and can make new instructions themselves. In a next phase, other interested companies will also be able to sign up. More information can be found here in Dutch.


Maintenance and repair in the spotlight

In consultation with BEMAS and Repair&Share it was decided to zoom in on maintenance & repair with Repair Teens. Maintenance, repair and lifespan extension are at the heart of the internationally recognised circular model of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Maintenance is carried out in the use phase of the product lifecycle of an appliance or installation. It is the most efficient way to make optimum use of the materials used and the energy invested in them. In addition, maintenance ensures personal safety, the prevention of pollution and optimum energy consumption. In addition to maintenance, repair also ensures that consumer goods remain in use for as long as possible. The chosen theme of maintenance & repair therefore fits seamlessly with the theme of circular economy.

For this project BEMAS will actively look for companies that want to open the doors to introduce students to maintenance. Interested companies can register with BEMAS.

All information about the project and the project partners can be found here.


With the support of

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