More than 1,200 primary school children from 15 schools across Sussex, Surrey and Croydon are to take part in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) program funded by Gatwick Airport.
The Primary Engineer project aims to inspire Key Stage 1 and 2 children by giving their teachers enhanced skills to deliver STEM subjects in an engaging way. The project also challenged pupils to build a vehicle in competition with other participating schools.
Two teachers from each of the 15 primary schools selected to take part in the program attended a training workshop at Gatwick in January, where a number of the 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. Gatwick engineers and apprentices later visited the schools to work with the children involved in the program.
A celebration event will be held at Horsham’s Millais Secondary School on June 2, where the children will present their projects and be awarded certificates, with Gatwick’s engineers acting as judges for the competition. By hosting the event at the girls’ school, Gatwick hopes to inspire more girls 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 program, 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 undertake training at Millais School on June 2, before taking the project back to their students.
“We place huge importance on our community work, so to be able to fund and be involved in the Primary Engineer program 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,” said Paula Aldridge, community engagement manager at Gatwick Airport.