Over 340 young people have benefitted from the Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) courses at RAF Wittering since 2015, with the latest course completed on Friday 12th April.
Over 80% of jobs in the Royal Air Force are related to STEM subjects. Forty young people from uniformed youth organisations spent a week at RAF Wittering learning how Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths are applied through military logistics.
Royal Air Force Wittering is home to the specialist engineering and logistic squadrons of the RAF A4 Force. From airfield engineering and catering to fuels and aircraft repair; the A4 Force supports UK military air power, anywhere in the world.
RAF Wittering’s STEM courses are designed to inspire the cadets and students to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects and consider a STEM career.
The STEM course means a week away from home without parents for the students. The Smallpiece Trust gives supports young people in their passion for engineering and their Education Officer Jon Bowmer has been providing pastoral care throughout the week.
Lisa Foster is the Chief Operating Officer for the Smallpiece Trust. She said: “We’re making sure the students have got the support there and that they feel secure and can engage with the programme.”
More than a hundred people gathered in the Sergeants’ Mess at RAF Wittering as cadets, students, parents and RAF personnel gathered to mark the end of this extremely successful course. All the cadets and students gained a CREST Award for their work, which is a nationally recognised certificate for STEM projects.
Group Captain Tony Keeling is the Station Commander at RAF Wittering and an enthusiastic STEM Ambassador. He said: “We’ve been doing this for five years now and over 340 young people have been taught life skills and given a meaningful insight into the RAF. You can actually see our STEM students grow and develop during the week of the course. Our STEM activities bring their GCSE learning to life in a practical and tangible way, and that hands-on way of learning remains with them for years.”
Since Monday the students have been taught by RAF fuels specialists, logistics officers and military caterers. Their hands-on learning has been based around a hypothetical humanitarian scenario, on which they’ve had to produce a finished project showing how they would plan a relief operation.
Derbyshire scout Connie Poulter (14) enjoyed the course. She said: “It’s been really, really good. The problem solving parts were the most difficult but it’s still been great. And it’s not like a scout camp because we’re inside and we’ve been sleeping indoors.”
Connie’s mum and dad, Sharon and Andy said: “We thought it’d be a brilliant opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills. It’s interesting because the things Connie’s learning at school are being put into practice here.”
Group Captain Keeling concluded: “RAF Wittering is exactly the right Station for this kind of event. Here we do specialist engineering and logistics, which are the perfect environments for STEM learning to flourish, full credit to our STEM Team and the contributing squadrons who have done a massive amount of work making this course a success.”