The University of the Highlands and Islands’ new STEM outreach coordinators met for the first time this week at an event in Inverness.
The ten coordinators, who are based at campuses across the UHI partnership, have been recruited to promote careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to primary school children across the north of Scotland.
The project, which was announced earlier this year, has been supported with funding from offshore wind project developers.
West of Orkney Windfarm, Buchan Offshore Wind, Thistle Wind Partners (TWP) and Ossian, a joint venture project led by SSER, Marubeni and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, have collectively donated £960,000 to help UHI extend its STEM outreach programme for a three-year period.
The programme delivers materials and training to teachers across UHI’s operating area to build their confidence and knowledge in subjects they may not be familiar with.
The UHI team will also work with other agencies involved in STEM outreach to support local needs.
The STEM coordinators gathered for the first time in Inverness at the venue of the Scotsman’s Highland and Islands Green Energy Conference on Tuesday 20 June to discuss their plans.
They also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from the offshore wind project developers.
Speaking about her new role, Ria Kirkpatrick, UHI’s STEM outreach coordinator for Orkney College UHI, said:
“This an exciting change for me.
“I previously worked as a primary school teacher so I know the curriculum well and am looking forward to supporting teachers with their STEM activities.
“It’s a really inspiring opportunity which will have a huge impact and create an important legacy.
“We are a really enthusiastic group with a wealth of science backgrounds and we’ve already started sharing ideas.”
UHI also had a number of speakers at the green energy conference.
Dr Su Bryan, UHI’s Dean of the Faculty of Science, Health and Engineering, joined a panel which explored how they can address skills gaps in our region; Dr Neil Wight, Subject Network Leader for Engineering and the Built Environment, contributed to a panel discussion on future of Scotland’s energy systems and Alison Wilson, Director of Advancement and Alumni Engagement, helped to provide insights on the opportunities and challenges of the offshore wind industry.
Dr Su Bryan, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Health and Engineering, at UHI said:
“I’m delighted to see our newly formed STEM team gathering for the first time at the start of our ambitious three-year project.
“It’s fitting that this should happen at the Highlands and Islands Green Energy Conference.
“There are important opportunities for young people in our regions to play their part in achieving Scotland’s net zero ambition, with careers in green energy a big part of that.
“To achieve our goals, we need to promote these opportunities and support learners to acquire the STEM skills they will need.
“This transformational project has been made possible through our collaboration with industry donors.
“Our outreach coordinators have a wealth of experience in inspiring young people.
“It’s so exciting to see what we can achieve together.”
For information on courses at UHI, visit www.uhi.ac.uk