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Gatwick Airport helps teachers inspire 1,200 children to become engineers

Posted 11 March 2020 · Add Comment

More than 1,200 primary school children from 15 schools across Sussex, Surrey and Croydon are set to take part in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) programme, funded by Gatwick Airport.


Courtesy Gatwick Airport

The Primary Engineer project is aimed at inspiring Key Stage 1 and 2 children by giving their teachers enhanced skills to deliver STEM subjects in an engaging way and challenging the pupils to build a vehicle in competition with the other schools.

Two teachers from each of the 15 primary schools selected to take part in the programme attended a training workshop at Gatwick in January, where a number of airport’s engineers and apprentices were on hand to share advice.

The teachers were given a full kit to take back to their schools to build the vehicles, before the engineers and apprentices from Gatwick go to work with the children involved in the programme and answer questions.

A celebration event will be held at Horsham’s Millais Secondary School on 2nd June where the primary school children will present their projects and be awarded certificates, while Gatwick’s engineers will act as judges for the competition. By hosting the event at the girls’ school, Gatwick hopes to inspire more females to consider careers in engineering or science-related disciplines.

Later in the year, five local secondary schools will be chosen to take part in a Gatwick-funded Secondary Engineer programme, with the project having been developed with the support of the British Fluid Power Association (BFPA), British Compressed Air Society (BCAS), the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) and WEBTEC.

Four teachers from each school will benefit from training at Millais School on 2nd June, before taking the project back to their students.

Paula Aldridge, Community Engagement Manager, Gatwick Airport, said: “We place huge importance on our community work at Gatwick Airport, so to be able to fund and be involved in the Primary Engineer programme is fantastic.

“Our engineers and apprentices loved being part of it and working with the children, giving them practical, hands-on experience to hopefully spark a passion.

“STEM subjects are so vital to schools and to businesses across the region including Gatwick and we hope we can help to inspire the engineers of the future through this initiative.”

Fionnuala Quinlan, teacher, Our Lady Queen of Heaven School, said: “I really enjoyed the course and now feel much more confident delivering this project in the classroom. Our engineer was great and really helpful - we have already booked in time for him to come him and support in school.”

Gender diversity in aviation
A diversity conference was held last week at Gatwick to help industry-wide efforts at making aviation more gender balanced to coincide with International Women’s Day (Sunday 8th March).

Eleven leading aviation experts from Gatwick, Virgin, Airbus and the Royal Aeronautical Society gave talks at the event, which saw Gatwick partnering with Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter (WiAAC) - an organisation designed to collectively build more gender balanced aviation and aerospace sectors.

Round table discussions helped participants to share best practices and also to encourage more organisations to sign the Aerospace Charter, which sets out a range of commitments to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry for women. So far, the charter has nearly 200 signatories since being launched in 2018.

To help address the issue, Gatwick held a ‘Women in STEM’ day for daughters and their mothers to see the different aspects of the airport and the opportunities available and also partners with an all-girls school in Horsham to encourage more females to consider STEM related careers.

Bronwen Jones, Development Director at Gatwick Airport, said: “Greater gender diversity in aviation is so important and we are delighted that so many well qualified delegates are coming to discuss how, as an industry, we can work towards achieving this goal. Improvements in the gender balance are proven to lead to significantly better productivity rates in the workforce and this can only be beneficial for both the aviation and aerospace industries, their businesses, suppliers and passengers.”

 

 

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