YESC Celebration of STEM 2017 proves to be a true location of inspiration

Issued: Fri, 16 Jun 2017 16:19:00 BST

Young Engineers and Science Clubs (YESC), Scotland’s STEM Club programme coordinators, and a part of The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), held their annual STEM celebration event last week.

With the impressive Glasgow Science Centre as the venue, each of the 46 primary and secondary schools present showcased their knowledge of STEM and their ability to demonstrate their topic, which could be anything from building a robot to engineering the construction of a crane to solar powered cars.

Judged by the many companies and industry leaders who were also in attendance, each school competed in a number of STEM Challenges to achieve the top science and engineering prizes available.

Enjoying the day, Jane Martin, programme Director of YESC, said: “I think it’s going amazingly well, there’s a real buzz about the place, the mix of age and the fabulous range of projects that’re here. We’ve got schools from all over Scotland from Benbecula to Peebles and everywhere in between.”

Both Means Primary and Monifieth High School scooped the top awards with Mearns Primary's Science Club from East Renfrewshire showcased a range of science experiments including chemical reactions, chromatography, hydrogels and states of matter. Monifieth High School's Young Engineers Club from Angus showcased a range of engineering projects including F1 in Schools, Robotics and IET Faraday Challenge.

Yet, the buzz around the science centre strongly suggested each school had a wonderful time competing. Tom McHugh, an S2 pupil from St Ninian’s High in East Renfrewshire, succinctly articulated the mood of the day: “I really enjoyed the entire process, from designing the crane to making it. I’ve made new friends and I’ve also enjoyed the problem solving element. I feel that this is a great way to get more children and people interested in STEM projects.”

Large national and international companies were also in attendance in order to showcase potential future careers to pupils. Jason Pang and Emily Tiffen of Lloyd’s Register and Ross Barron of Robert Gordon University brought an ROV Underwater Robot housed within a large tank for young people to problem solve with.

Controlled like an actual-size ROV, Barron said: “It’s a good demonstration of all applications of engineering from surveying, electrical, mechanical, problem solving, it’s fun and kids can see where things go wrong and they can see how to fix them. This challenge isn’t prefect but the kids say “oh, we can do that, we can fix this” and they work around the problems.”

Lloyd’s Register, who work in compliance and verification and where a branch of the company specialise in underwater pipeline inspection, are keen to exhibit the real world application of such a demonstration.

Emily Tiffen, an Integrity Engineer with LR, said: “STEM is awesome. We’re working in combination with Robert Gordon University and trying to establish a relationship with them to work together with schools and the STEM network throughout Scotland.”  Asked whether the underwater robot is going over with the schoolkids, she said: “The kids seem to love it and the last team were awesome at operating the ROV.”

No event like this would be complete without a number STEM Ambassadors to help facilitate it. Apprentices Leigh Price, Ryden Ferguson and Conor Sutherland of BAE Systems were keen to point out the benefits of such events and how attending STEM celebrations has shown them the importance of speaking to kids early about their future careers.

Leigh, a Combat Systems Apprentice, said: “When I was at school I don’t really remember getting involved in any of these kinds of events. Growing up at my school you were kind of forced to go to university, but BAE have an apprenticeship route and we're here to give these kids some information about apprenticeships, to come along and see how the things they do at school can be applied in everyday life.”

“It’s good to come to these STEM events because it’s good to inspire kids who maybe don’t have a great understanding of what opportunities there are.”  Agrees Conor Sutherland, an Engineering Tech Apprentice, “The real reward is knowing you’re inspiring young kids to go into a career that you yourself were inspired by someone to go into – it’s repeating the cycle.”

For a complete list of winners and competitors visit the YESC website.

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