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Viridor, Scotland’s leading recycling and renewable energy company, once again showed their support to the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industry by sponsoring the national Go4SET competition which, this year, was won by local Stirlingshire school Grangemouth High School.
On Friday 2 June, pupils from schools across the UK came together in what was the culmination of ten weeks of challenging work. The competing schools, who had all won their regional heats, had their projects assessed by a panel of expert judges with the top honour of National Winner being awarded to Grangemouth High School with their Sustainable and Storm-Resistant Buildings project.
The Grangemouth High School team chose to research and design a Storm-Proof and Sustainable School building. They used project management tools and created a One-note group to ensure they completed every aspect of their ambitious project on time and to the best of their abilities. They carried out practical research, building their own anemometer to measure wind speed and considered all aspects of sustainability from building materials to energy production.
Educators, employers and pupils will reap the mutual benefits of this initiative which aims to change the pupils’ perceptions of STEM subjects in order to increase the number of people seeking further education and potential careers in these subjects. The S2 pupils competed in teams of 6, working on an environmental project during which they were mentored by experts from local companies and were given an understanding of how STEM is central to everything we do.
Alan Cumming, Capital Projects and Engineering Director at Viridor, who are the main sponsor of Go4SET said: “As the UK’s leading recycling, renewable energy and sustainable waste partner we are keen to encourage young people to get involved in energy management.
“With Viridor’s ambitions for a sustainable, low carbon economy it’s not just the world class infrastructure we need but the world class talent as well. The Go4SET programme is a fantastic way to achieve this as it challenges young people to think about their environment and the future and encourages them to consider a career in the industry.
“I would just like to congratulate Grangemouth High School on this fantastic achievement; they have done us all proud.”
Helen Anderson, Director for competition-organisers Engineering Development Trust (EDT), said: “Go4SET introduces students to the world of STEM via joint projects between Schools/Universities and sponsoring industrial companies. The projects give an early insight into the world of work for our students and can be a deciding factor in future subject and career choices.
“Our aim at the Engineering Development Trust is to raise awareness of the vital contribution that STEM makes to our society and economy. Through a series of taster-courses, projects and placements we work in partnership with industry and schools to encourage young people of all backgrounds, ages and levels of ability to pursue careers in STEM.
“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.”
Viridor’s involvement with Go4SET is part of their ongoing work to deliver enhanced community benefits and education opportunities throughout the local areas they have a presence in.
Commenting on their pupil’s achievement Dr Johanne Matheson, Principle Teacher, Science at Grangemouth High School said: “We couldn’t be prouder of our team of pupils on this fantastic achievement. To win the regional competition was an honour for us but to go on and win the national final has just been overwhelming.
“The pupils put in so much hard work over the ten-week competition and this win is testament to that.”
Shirley-Anne Somerville, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, said: “I want to offer my congratulations to the winning team from Grangemouth High School. This is a great achievement and they should be very proud of putting in such an impressive performance.
“Programmes like Go4Set are crucial in broadening the appeal of STEM to young people and helping to unlock the wide range of career and labour market opportunities available. STEM can ignite a passion for learning in our young people that crosses all subject areas and hopefully will stay with them throughout their lives.”
Linda Fabiani MSP and strong advocate for STEM education and a supporter of EDT in Scotland added: “The Go4SET programme is a fantastic initiative which does a brilliant job of encouraging school children to pursue a career in the STEM industry. I would just like to congratulate the pupils from Grangemouth High School, they should be incredibly proud of themselves.”
Go4SET is a national programme which is part of the EDT’s continuum of programmes aimed at stimulating young people’s interest in STEM at a key stage in their education.