100 students completed a special five-day national residential course held at RAF Cosford, West Midlands, the home of RAF Engineering.
During the week, the girls, aged 14-15, came from regions across the UK and were put through a programme of engineering and science challenges.
They had the opportunity to work alongside RAF technicians to get hands-on with aircraft used for repairs at the RAF’s School of Technical Training, wrote code to operate robots and completed a glider build project.
Gauti Patel, pictured below with Air Vice-Marshal Sue Gray, said:
“This week has helped me to figure out what I want to do when I grow up."
On the last day of the course, parents and families joined event staff for the final exhibition held at the RAF Museum Cosford.
The participants were presented with their British Science Association Silver CREST Awards by Air Vice-Marshal Sue Gray, Air Officer Commanding Number 38 Group and head of the RAF’s Engineer branch.
The students were selected from each of the 100 schools across the United Kingdom visited by the RAF’s youth engagement programme throughout the 2017/18 academic year.
Air Vice-Marshal Gray, who is the senior regular serving female in the British Armed Forces, said:
“I congratulate the students of this residential course for all they’ve achieved this week. We have welcomed 100 girls to RAF Cosford, where the RAF has trained its engineers for generations. Located in the heart of the West Midlands, a part of the country which has played a central role in the technological advancement of our Service over the last century. We have done this with the aim of showcasing the modern Royal Air Force and the opportunities that are available to young women. By doing so, we aim to encourage them to pursue their goals and challenge them to help us shape the Air Force of the future.”
Having started in September 2017, the expanded youth programme for the RAF’s centenary year (RAF100) was expected to reach up to 2 million students aged between 9-15 years old and aimed to build interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers. The programme is largest investment in free STEM education delivered by a HM Government department.
Jenny Hatcher, education officer at the Smallpeice Trust, a charity which supported the running of the course, said:
“The joint partnership between and The Smallpeice Trust and RAF has really brought engineering to life for these young women. I think that many of them would definitely now consider engineering as a career”.