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STEM Education Eco-Challenge launches in Fife

Pupils from schools in Fife are about to embark on a 10-week competition supported by leading recycler Viridor, designed to launch them into stellar careers in science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM).  The launch event for the Go4SET competition was held on 27th January at Fife College and pupils got into the innovative spirit of things by taking part in two team building activities: the Roller Coaster Challenge and Build a Balloon Chair.  Little did they know that, behind the laughter and excitement, they were already beginning to develop crucial project-planning, communication and teamwork skills.

The S2 pupils from Kirkcaldy High School, Inverkeithing High School, Woodmill High School, Glenrothes High School, Glenwood High School, Grangemouth High School, St. Columba’s High School, St. Modan’s High School and Larbert High School will compete in the Go4SET competition in teams of 6, working on an environmental project during which they will be mentored by experts from local companies. The team producing the most innovative project and professional report will win the competition.

This annual competition encourages pupils to gain an understanding of how STEM is central to the world as we know it, giving an insight into the galaxy of future careers they could take advantage of. With predicted industry shortages of around 87,000 positions per year in STEM careers across the UK, it is vitally important that we make STEM attractive and accessible to our   next generation of scientists and engineers. Go4SET is one effective way of providing young people with the experience of working with industry, helping to enthuse and inspire them to consider a STEM career.

Meg Wright, Scotland Director for competition-organisers EDT, said:

“Go4SET encourages young pupils of today to be the engineers and scientists of tomorrow. It also helps them develop skills in team working, communication, report writing and problems solving – all essential skills in today’s world of work”.

The projects will be presented at a Celebration and Assessment Day in May 2017, where the teams display their innovative solutions to guests from industry, government and their own families. The young people will also find their interpersonal skills challenged as they are interviewed by a panel of experienced assessors, drawn from a variety of areas in the field of STEM. The winning team will be invited to the National Final in June.

Viridor is the main sponsor of Go4SET across Scotland and Paul Brown, Director of Recycling and Integrated Assets, commented:

“As Scotland’s leading recycling, renewable energy and sustainable waste partner working with 96% of local authorities we are keen to encourage young people to get involved in energy management. Viridor are delighted to support the Go4SET programme across Scotland, challenging young people to think about their environment and future.  Like Viridor, these young people are committed to their environment and conscious of how they utilise resources.  I look forward to seeing the results when the pupils return to report their findings at the CAD events”.

“The pupils’ enthusiasm is infectious,” one teacher told us. “They gain so much in terms of knowledge but they also gain many transferable skills for life”.

Pupils agreed, saying “this will help us learn to work better as a team and gain confidence and new skills”, including soft skills like teamwork as well as STEM knowledge. Another pupil said “I love science and Go4SET will let me use science in a real life project.”

The organisations supporting this years’ competition are Brand Rex, Bosch Rexroth, New Park Educational Trust and FMC Technologies with the Carnegie Trust.

Go4SET is a national programme which is part of the Engineering Development Trust’s continuum of programmes aimed at stimulating young people’s interest in STEM at a key stage in their education.


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