Airbus: STEM Discovery Centre 'inspires next generation of history makers'
- Credit: Airbus
Airbus in Stevenage is renowned for its work in space missions - but some may not know about its investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education locally.
The STEM Discovery Centre - based on the site of Airbus's ExoMars Rover project in Gunnels Wood Road - is a unique education facility, celebrating the wonders of space and science, with the aim of inspiring young people to consider a career in STEM.
Developed in partnership with North Hertfordshire College, Airbus, and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the STEM Discovery Centre provides opportunities for young people to get stuck into the world of STEM.
It offers a rich and interactive education programme for schools and groups to enthuse young people about the diverse career options available through STEM subjects, using exciting experiments, interactive events, and the inspirational power of the ExoMars Rover Project.
Since being opened in September 2017 by astronaut Tim Peake, the centre has engaged with more than 29,000 visitors and young people.
This includes 12,000 school children visiting the centre, 6,300 home educators, 8,000 young people via youth community groups such as Brownies and Cubs and college groups.
The STEM Discovery Centre has also been involved in outreach events, such as Big Bang Eastern, and hosts its own Science Saturday events.
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The education programme is linked to the national curriculum and tailored to meet the needs of each visiting group, whether that’s a school or a local community organisation.
With interactive science shows on diverse topics, from sound through to magnetism - and even the science of bodily functions - the STEM Discovery Centre keeps visitors on the edge of their seats and excited to learn more.
The STEM Discovery Centre features three key areas to enhance the learning experience.
The Creative Zone allows visitors to enjoy hands-on activities and science shows.
The Exploration Zone is where visitors can interact with exhibits related to space, energy, materials, forces, and magnetism.
Finally, The Inspiration Zone gives children and adults the opportunity to visit the prototype ExoMars rovers in the Mars Yard and see how STEM subjects relate to careers and the world around us.
STEM manager at the centre Michelle Fearn said: “Science, Technology, Engineering and maths are part of our every day lives.
"There is no escaping that fact, and in Stevenage we are really fortunate to be surrounded by a wealth of world class STEM Industry, contributing to world wide change and working on projects that will change our history.
"For me, it is really inspiring for the STEM Discovery Centre to be able to tap into these real world projects.
"We are able to draw out the details to share with children from local schools and for us to help enthuse, motivate and inspire the next generation of history makers.”
A Year 5 pupil at St Andrew's Church of England School said: “I wish I could go there again, I had a blast.”
A testimonial from teachers across Herts and Essex said it is "a thoroughly enjoyable and educational day for everybody, both children and staff".
Others said that it is an excellent day filled with exciting and hands-on learning experiences and "children were fully engaged and gained a lot from each workshop as well as the science show.
"Every single child, regardless of gender, age, or ability, was engaged and immersed from the moment we entered the building,” they concluded.
The education programme is linked to the Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 curriculum and is designed and delivered by North Hertfordshire College.
For more information about the programme and how to book, go to https://stemdiscoverycentre.co.uk.
Airbus also invests in refining and nurturing fresh talent for older learners, recruiting more than 20 apprentices every year as well as about 40 graduates - including those that may not be from a STEM background.
To find out more about opportunities available, visit airbus.com/en/careers where you can search by location.