Learn By Design Blog

We recently announced our partnership with Learn By Design, a STEAM education provider. We will be working together to offer STEM workshops, focusing on optics and robotics, to primary schools across Birmingham and the West Midlands.


We are proud to be able to work with a charity that has a huge impact on inspiring and influencing young people to pursue an interest in STEM subjects, all through a fun and accessible programme.

The partnership is incredibly important to ZEISS and will allow us to give back to our community by educating young people on STEM subjects.

We interviewed our in house expert Sofia Fazal, Optometrist and Professional Services Manager at ZEISS, about why ZEISS have chosen to work with Learn By Design.


Sofia Fazal

Optometrist and Professional Services Manager


Could you tell us about the decision to partner with Learn by Design? How long has this project been in development and what led to the partnership?

As a foundation, ZEISS has long been committed to CSR and has facilitated some STEM initiatives in the UK over the last few years, but the business decided early in 2020 to look for a more strategic partnership. A shortlist of STEM organisations was drawn up and three were invited in to present to the ZEISS team. Learn By Design totally blew us away with their passion for STEM, their understanding of ZEISS’s innovation focus and the practicalities of what they could offer. Being based locally also helped as our aim is to support inner city schools in Birmingham.

What has formed the basis or focus of the project and workshops planned with Learn by Design? And how has ZEISS been involved?

This year long programme is a fun, team-based programme created to inspire students to find out more about STEM. It has been designed with the STEM curriculum at the centre covering topics like: vision and light, colours, the sight of animals, how eyes age, visual disabilities, lenses and mirrors, and robots – so there is much in the project that will illustrate how important our sector is.
For example, one session develops the idea that light, eyes, and the brain are all important for us to see. Students will be led through discussion on what light is, examples of light sources, how the human works, a comparison of human and robot eyes and also how lenses and other technology can help people see. They will take part in activities like simple robot programming and various experiments involving prisms, visual impairments and lenses.
Another activity is a competition, whereby the schoolchildren will be challenged to come up with their own innovative idea for how lenses and/or robotics can help people to see better.
Representatives from ZEISS will be dropping into sessions to share their experiences and passion.

The workshop programme is set to incorporate areas of robotics that are key to ZEISS’s work – could you tell us about this?

As an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics, we use state of the art technology across all four of our business segments to offer exceptional products to our customers. From medical diagnostic technology and microscopy, to semiconductor manufacturing technology, cinematography and vision care, we offer solutions that shape technological progress. At ZEISS Vision Care, we utilise cutting edge technologies to develop premium vision solutions that offer consumers precise, optimum vision. The workshops we have created with Learn By Design will ignite an interest in STEM by looking at the creation, development and use of technology to create products and services. Not only that, the workshops will aim to ignite an interest in optics, covering key topics such as refraction and light.

With the project to engage students in STEM subjects, how do you think this might help to engage and influence future optometrists or optics professionals?

This year long programme is a fun, team-based programme created to inspire students to find out more about STEM. It has been designed with the STEM curriculum at the centre covering topics like: vision and light, colours, the sight of animals, how eyes age, visual disabilities, lenses and mirrors and robots – so there is much in the project that will illustrate how important our sector is.
As I mentioned before, representatives from ZEISS will be dropping in to sessions to share their experiences and passion – which we think will be very effective in engaging future optics professionals.


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From working on this project, would you have a top tip for optometrists and practices in how they could be engaging the next generation in STEM topics?

The optical professionals we partner with are very welcome to look at the material that we are developing with Learn By Design – once finalised – and this could inspire all sorts of initiatives that optometrists could run locally with schools, like visits (at some point…) but also competitions and even career talks too. We are keen to inspire young people to consider a career in STEM and to encourage a passion for innovation and technological advancement – key principles that underpin the work we do here at ZEISS.

You can stay up to date with the latest on our partnership with Learn By Design, along with other ZEISS news, on MyZEISS at zeiss.co.uk/MyZEISS

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