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It IS rocket science for pupils on RAF Cosford visit

By Mat Growcott | Bridgnorth | Education | Published:

It's a lift off! More than 240 pupils were given the chance to learn about rocket cars and aircraft riveting at the launch of a new RAF youth programme.

Organised to coincide with the air force's centenary, the RAF100 Youth & STEM programme is an attempt to help young people build an interest in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) careers.

It's hoped that the project will benefit the wider UK economy against the background of a "serious skills shortage" at the national level.

School pupils from Birmingham were invited to RAF Cosford to take part in the English launch, and were given a taster of various STEM activities to enjoy.

Air Vice-Marshal Sue Gray, Air Officer Commanding number 38 group and head of the RAF’s engineer branch, said: “For almost 100 years, the RAF has been a leading force in technological advancement and innovation.

"Today, through our youth engagement programme, the RAF is looking to the next generation for innovative ideas to shape our second century and ensure that we will always be first to the future."

Run throughout the centenary year, the programme includes 1,000 STEM boxes distributed to schools, 100 curriculum-based school activity days, residential courses at RAF bases and a new Air Researcher Badge for Scouts UK.

All of this is complemented by a range of historical initiatives following partnerships with the First World War Charity Never Such Innocence, the Historical Association and the Institute of Physics.

The Scotland programme was launched in Glasgow in Sept 2017 and will launch in Wales in early 2018.

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Bridgnorth Cadets got their hand on drones

It came as Bridgnorth Air Cadets held Virtual Reality and Drone Flying Parade on November 14.

Th 63 (Bridgnorth) Squadron RAF Air Cadets were treated to a special parade courtesy of Telford based Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) school experts Tablet Academy supported by members of the Cosford and District Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association.

The Air Cadets who are aged between 12 and 20 spent the 2 hour parade participating in three activities including joining pilots of the Red Arrows and a Lancaster Bomber Crew in a flying Sortie via Virtual Reality; taking control of a Drone and videoing their flight; and creating and engineering models using LEGO and an exclusive form of compatible bricks which allows the modeler to add circuits, sensors and motors to their creation.

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“The aim of the evening was to offer Air Cadets access to the same exciting STEM activities we offer schools”, said RAFA member and Tablet Academy CEO Professor Steve Molyneux. “

By their very nature, these young people form a part of our future scientists and engineers and as such anything we can do to nurture their passion for STEM is in our nation’s best interests and we hope this will be the first of many.”

Pilot Officer Glen Cadman RAFVR(T), officer commanding 63 Squadron, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our cadets to experience these types of activities. The Air Training Corps is a huge advocate of STEM and for 63 Squadron to be chosen by Tablet Academy to be the first Squadron to benefit from their expertise is a great honour. I would like to thank Professor Steve Molyneux and his team for a fantastic evening.” For more information of what 63 (Bridgnorth) Squadron have to offer please visit the Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/63bridgnorthsquadron.

Civilian Instructor, Liz Sinclair added: “As a cadet in the late 1990’s, we couldn’t even imagine the Virtual Reality (VR) let alone have access to it. This has been an incredible opportunity for our cadets.”

Mat Growcott

By Mat Growcott
Trainee Multi-Media Journalist - @MGrowcott_Star

Shropshire Star reporter

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