The importance of STEM to the future of the RAF and the whole of the United Kingdom was in focus, as the Air Force Board and Defence partners met.
100 partners from industry and academia were represented at a special event at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on 27th October 2021. They were joined by RAF teams – including the specialist Youth and STEM team – who demonstrated the practical exercises they use to inspire children to consider a career in a STEM field.
Attendees also heard from ex-STEM Apprentice Lewis Liston from Edinburgh-based Leonardo, one of the contractors currently working on the Tempest Combat Air System.
The Air Force Board had met in Edinburgh earlier in the day, having committed to meet in the UK regions and also to mark the step change in the relationship between the RAF and its Scottish partners signalled by the expansion of RAF Lossiemouth.
"It is the enduring quality and talent of our people that give the RAF its decisive edge. There is no higher priority than ensuring that we can continue to attract, recruit and sustain the highly skilled and diverse workforce we need. Our future success depends on it. That’s why this year the RAF in Scotland is running a bespoke Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths programme."
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston
Chief of the Air Staff
The RAF’s Youth and STEM team’s bespoke programme in Scotland, delivered in partnership with Glasgow Science Centre, has helped over 6000 pupils and teachers across 12 Scottish local authorities since its inception in April 2021. Aimed at 9 to12-year-olds, the programme is delivered in schools and sees pupils consider a different space, Net Zero, and innovation challenge every week.
The RAF Youth and STEM team’s work is supported by 300 STEM ambassadors across the RAF.
"The recently announced defence investment will mean additional skills, jobs and industry across the UK and Scotland’s fantastic heritage of research and development means that we are well placed to help deliver the Next Generation RAF. A relentless focus on STEM skills will be crucial however – not just for the RAF but for the wider Scottish economy."
Air Vice-Marshal Ross Paterson
Air Officer Scotland
The RAF recently announced a commitment to the future development of Typhoon, and the locating of the P-8 Poseidon and E-7 Wedgetail ISTAR platforms at RAF Lossiemouth. Both the ISTAR and Typhoon platforms are supported on-site by industry partners Boeing UK and BAE Systems.
2,000 Scottish jobs are also being supported by the development of the Future Combat Air System, with the radar and laser technology for the Tempest programme being delivered at Leonardo’s Edinburgh site.