Students from Lancashire schools have been given a hands-on experience of coding and robotics this week thanks to a UK-wide science and engineering roadshow.
BAE Systems, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force have joined forces to tackle the UK’s perceptions of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, one school at a time, in the largest ever schools programme of its kind.
The STEM roadshow, now in its twelfth year, provides a highly visual, educational and interactive theatre presentation for primary and secondary school children on the theme of computing and engineering. The presentation demonstrates how robotics and computer coding are used in the real world by aircraft and naval engineers to design and build some of the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft and ships.
The activities demonstrated assist teachers in tackling the most difficult parts of the national curriculum for science, maths and IT.
Last week, more than 500 pupils from 12 local schools took part in the activities hosted at BAE Systems’ Military Air & Information’s Academy for Skills & Knowledge, a £15.6m skills hub in Samlesbury, Lancashire, which it uses to train its apprentices and graduates and provide lifelong learning for its 10,000-strong workforce.
Over the next two weeks, the roadshow will continue to visit schools across Blackburn with Darwen, Preston and Fylde.
Andy Bloor, Head of Early Careers and Education at BAE Systems Military Air & Information, said: “This year, we will be reaching 420 schools and 90,000 students across the country to showcase how robotics and coding are used in the real world and to challenge perceptions around STEM subjects. We recognise that it is important for industry, education and the Government to continue to work together to encourage more young people to consider a career in STEM. There is still a huge amount to do and no one organisation has the ability to make a lasting impact – it must be a joint effort throughout the UK.”
Air Vice-Marshal Sue Gray, RAF Senior Engineer, said: “The Royal Air Force understands the importance of engaging early with students in order to inspire and enthuse them to focus on maths and science. It is particularly important to encourage girls to take up these subjects and consider non-traditional, technical career pathways.”
Commodore Andy M Cree, Royal Navy, said: “The Royal Navy is proud to support this Roadshow as it is about inspiring the engineers and scientists of tomorrow. It enables us to highlight the variety of exciting roles and opportunities available, not just within the Royal Navy, but across the whole engineering and scientific community, which in turn, is building a better future for the UK.”
The UK-wide roadshow comes after BAE Systems found that 51 per cent of parents surveyed by YouGov said they would encourage their child to pursue a STEM-based career, and 61 per cent said they felt that their child has more opportunities to learn STEM subjects now compared to when they were at school.
The launch of the roadshow in February saw YouTuber and Television Presenter Maddie Moate, known for her science, technology and education films, entertain the audience by participating in a science demonstration showing students how computing and engineering plays a part in everyday life.
This year, the roadshow will visit more than 30 schools across Lancashire.