STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects are very important for students to study. They play an important part in the education curriculum and are vital to those seeking careers in the aviation industry.

In the past, we have supported a number of STEM activities with the aim of inspiring students to appreciate how these subjects are relevant to the real world and ultimately a potential career. Getting young people interested in STEM as potential career paths is something that many of us at NATS are passionate about.

We’ve previously gone into local schools during STEM Week to raise awareness of NATS and STEM-related subjects among young people, but recently we hosted a STEM event with a difference at Prestwick, one of NATS two control centres; this event was for the teachers rather than students.

The idea to hold events specifically for teachers came from discussions with Education Scotland who were keen to increase awareness around what local businesses did to support STEM. We realised that by providing the teachers with a better understanding of what businesses do, what careers are available and how academic subjects are used practically, this would be passed onto their students and hopefully encourage more students to embrace STEM subjects.

This year we invited 21 school teachers from primary and high schools across South Ayrshire in Scotland to our STEM event. On the night, we gave them an overview of what NATS does and talked about career options and schemes such as our Apprentice scheme and training for ATCOs (air traffic controllers). I also shared some of the STEM activities we’ve previously carried out with schools. This was followed by a workshop for the teachers which gave us ideas about how NATS could get more involved in local education.

Following the success of the event we hope to run more in the future: such events are good for us, not only as we are committed to supporting education and students’ interest in STEM  but also because they raise awareness of NATS as a future employer while giving the teachers new ideas to consider.

Ultimately such events are about the students and we’re pleased to play our part in promoting the STEM subjects to young people via their teachers. As a direct result, we are developing a NATS maths workbook for students aged 12 to 14 and we’ve also been asked if we could produce a new NATS maths workbook aimed at 10-12 year olds. The importance of STEM for students, NATS and the economy of the country cannot be underestimated, so I am very happy to be contributing to raising the profile of these subjects by such events and workbooks.

 

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