Family history came to RAF Wittering when around 100 young people from uniformed youth organisations arrived for a week of Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM).
Andrew Boyle (15) is from Shropshire and part of his school’s combined cadet force (CCF) but his connection with the Royal Air Force runs far deeper. Andrew’s Great Grandfather was Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Dermot Boyle, Chief of the Air Staff between 1956 and 1959.
The week long course at RAF Wittering aims to inspire the cadets and students to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and consider a STEM career. Their learning will be based on RAF engineering and logistics, through a simulated humanitarian relief operation.
Andrew said: “I’m really enjoying it so far, it’s a good way to learn about engineering and logistics.” Andrew and his teammates had spent the morning with No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron and the afternoon with No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron, getting to grips with Royal Air Force logistics.
STEM is a serious commitment for the Royal Air Force and RAF Wittering’s course is the flagship event. Squadrons from across the A4 Force are involved teaching catering, fuels, hands-on engineering, non-destructive testing and anything that touches science, technology, engineering and maths.
Rhys Atkins (15) is also a CCF cadet with a family connection to the RAF. Rhys’ great grandfather, Thomas Atkins was an original ‘Trenchard Boy’, joining the Service as an apprentice during the tenure of its founder, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Trenchard, and qualifying as a Propulsion Engineer in 1927.
The cadets and students arrived on Sunday afternoon and will divide their time between engineering and logistics based activities, not to mention some homework. Each activity demonstrates how STEM subjects apply in today’s Royal Air Force. It’s one of the many ways in which the RAF is inspiring young people during its 100th anniversary.
Group Captain Tony Keeling is the Station Commander at Royal Air Force Wittering and a qualified STEM Ambassador for the RAF. He said: “If we are serious about encouraging young people to take up science, technology, engineering and maths, then we have to show them how STEM subjects are applied in the real world.”
The Station Commander continued: “I have no doubt that Andrew and Rhys’ great grandfathers would be very proud of them, and they’d still recognise the RAF of 2018. Like Rhys’ great grandfather, I too joined the RAF as a ‘Trenchard Boy’ and qualified as an engineer, so I hope our RAF 100 STEM event gives these young people a sense of the world-class training and opportunities that I personally have benefitted from. “