More than 300 school children have taken part in a Royal Air Force event to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Students from schools in Bristol and surrounding areas took part in a range of activities including coding and building rocket cars. The event was held at Aerospace Bristol on the historic Filton Airfield, with many of the STEM challenges located underneath the wings of the Concorde. The aerospace museum is also home to the Sea Harrier which last year was successfully airlifted to its new home by an RAF Chinook.
The students were guided by the RAF Youth and STEM Team and their partners from Hands on Science. The students were also assisted by local RAF Engineers from Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) based at MOD Abbey Wood.
The event was part of the RAF’s national youth engagement programme which has been expanded for the Air Force’s 100th year and is expected to reach up to 2 million students aged between 9-15 years old. The aim of the programme is to build interest in STEM careers and inspire a new generation to help write the next chapters in the RAF’s story.
The schools taking part were Millbrook Primary School, Welton Primary School, Brook Field Primary School, Holy Cross Primary School, Somerton Primary School, St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School and St Francis’ Catholic Primary School.
Amber Nyakunu, 11, from Holy Cross Primary School in Bedminster, said, “My favourite activity was programming the robot. We had to use teamwork to complete the challenge and get the job done. After today, I would say I’m much more interested in science and engineering.”
Air Marshal Julian Young, Chief of Material (Air) at DE&S and the Defence Engineering Champion, added, “In 2018, both the year of the RAF’s Centenary and the Year of Engineering, DE&S is proud to join with our RAF colleagues to encourage our local young people from Bristol to take an interest in the exciting and rewarding field of Engineering. Through Engineering you can shape the future of the world we live in: my hero Brunel demonstrated this some 160 years ago, and the Concorde at Aerospace Bristol is a fantastic more recent example.
“Creative thinking and problem solving in technical matters are key to our country’s future, and as a responsible employer we have a duty to help address the skills shortfall in engineering across the UK.”
Amy Seadon, Learning & Community Engagement Manager at Aerospace Bristol, commented, “It was fantastic to see so many children taking part in hands-on STEM activities alongside Aerospace Bristol’s real-world examples of aerospace engineering. Through our exhibition and National Curriculum-linked learning programme, the museum aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technology and we were delighted to work with the RAF and Bristol schools on this special event.”