Education news

School stem project will inspire next generation of engineers

The Science of Flight P5 Challenge was developed to further strengthen curricular links between the college and primary schools

PUPILS have won funding for an engineering project designed them to improve their `stem' skills in an interactive and stimulating way.

Our Lady and St Patrick's College in Belfast is celebrating after receiving a £4,078 grant from engineering institutions.

The Engineering Education Grant Scheme (EEGS) provides support for educational projects that increase engineering knowledge in young people

Run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, EEGS aims to engage people aged 5-19 in learning about engineering and to develop the professional skills of those involved in supporting stem learning and careers awareness.

It also supports projects that improve wider engineering literacy.

For the past three years, Our Lady and St Patrick's has been working in partnership with teachers from St Ita's and St Joseph's PS in Carryduff.

They are delivering a stem project linked to supporting the P5 curriculum, culminating in a skills activity day in the college during summer term.

The Science of Flight P5 Challenge was developed to further strengthen curricular links between the college and primary schools, while demonstrating how important stem is in the modern world.

This has been complemented by building links with Bombardier, whose employees deliver a company presentation, host a Q&A session with the pupils and then act as mentors during the construct and build stage of the model planes.

Dermot Mullan, principal at Our Lady and St Patrick's College, said stem subjects in education were essential.

"Our teachers and schools collectively have a pivotal role in highlighting how relevant stem subjects are in the current and future job market," he said.

"This project provides participating pupils with the opportunity to utilise their stem skills in a fun, interactive and stimulating construct and build challenge day. This crucial funding will allow us to expand the project further for 2018, truly inspiring the next generation of engineers."

Peter Finegold, head of education and skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said the Science of Flight P5 Challenge was a fantastic example of the kind of projects the EEGS scheme aims to promote.

"The UK is facing a critical engineering skills shortage and showing young people how creative and exciting engineering can be a key way of inspiring the engineers of tomorrow," he said.

David Lakin, head of education at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, added: "In order to tackle the engineering skills gap we need more graduates and apprentices to enter the profession, and this can only happen if more school-age children – girls as well as boys – are attracted to, and choose to study science, technology, engineering and maths subjects.

"The IET is investing considerable resource in EEGS to support vital projects like The Science of Flight P5 Challenge, which highlight the exciting, creative and rewarding world of engineering careers to young people."

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