STEM ambassadors inspire next generation
To conclude this year’s virtual Farnborough International Airshow (FIA), Farnborough Friday staged its first-ever virtual event, FIA Connect, inspiring the next generation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) professionals. This year, Raytheon UK, a Raytheon Technologies subsidiary, supported Farnborough Friday, which offers young people access to a virtual hub that includes guidance, inspirational speakers and materials to help address the skills gap in the industry.
Farnborough Friday introduces the next generation of innovators and potential engineers to the endless career opportunities that are available across the aerospace, defence and space sectors, and the value that studying STEM subjects has to offer.
To help inspire the future workforce, Raytheon UK’s Scottish STEM ambassadors have launched video workshops for young people that include Raytheon UK’s flagship STEM programme, the Quadcopter Challenge.
The challenge has taken place over the last five years with more than 1,000 students from 50 schools, youth groups and cadet teams across the UK. The video provides insight into the skills the teams acquire and learn as they build quadcopters and compete at the national level each year. Each school team is tested on the skills that the UK’s future engineers will need, including teamwork, innovation, creativity and problem-solving.
The challenge tasks local school pupils and cadet teams to build and fly their own unique quadcopter with the support of over 200 STEM ambassadors across the country, who mentor the local teams throughout the competition providing technical and engineering support. Last year, the competition saw pupils from 10 schools around Fife and Dundee take part in the challenge.
Raytheon UK’s Engineering Director and Executive Sponsor for STEM, Alex Rose-Parfitt, said: “Farnborough Airshow is one of the biggest events for the industry, and we want to use Farnborough Friday as a platform to address the global skills gap. Young people should be encouraged by all the exciting opportunities that STEM has to offer, and Farnborough Friday can bring this to life and inspire the next generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians.
“It is unfortunate that this year so many pupils have missed out on opportunities due to the closure of schools and the cancelling of events in the STEM industry,” Alex said. “This is why we have launched the Quadcopter Challenge videos, as an exciting way to engage young people and remotely challenge them as a reminder of the great career opportunities that are available through STEM subjects.”
Raytheon STEM ambassadors promote and encourage the upcoming generation to pursue a career in STEM-related subjects. Ambassadors provide guidance to the younger generation, help mentor the future STEM workforce and showcase the variety of the career paths that STEM subjects can offer. The sponsorship of Farnborough Friday is part of Raytheon UK’s continued efforts to inspire a new generation of experts in science, technology, engineering and maths in Scotland and the UK.
Raytheon’s site in Glenrothes employs 556 people, providing various exciting innovative opportunities in the technology, engineering, and manufacturing industries and contributes about £130m a year to the Scottish economy. Raytheon also recently opened a new facility in Livingston, to produce ventilators in response to COVID-19 as part of the UK’s Ventilator Challenge.