Firms help to stage space and engineering expo

North East businesses helped hundreds of children to explore the worlds of space and engineering

Hirst Park Middle School students Ben and Caitlin, alongside Trevor Swann, director of strategy and standards at Ashington Learning Partnership with Dr Kierann Shah from the National Space Academy and Nicole Sergeant, STEM learning co-ordinator with ALP.
Hirst Park Middle School students Ben and Caitlin, alongside Trevor Swann, director of strategy and standards at Ashington Learning Partnership with Dr Kierann Shah from the National Space Academy and Nicole Sergeant, STEM learning co-ordinator with ALP.

A host of North East firms came together to bring space and engineering to life for hundreds of children at a Newcastle event.

More than 400 school children aged 11 to 16 attended the inaugural Great North East Space and Engineering Expo at the Discovery Museum in Newcastle.

Organised by the by Ashington Learning Partnership (ALP), which is the Northern hub for the National Space Academy in Leicester, the event welcomed students from 19 schools along with industry experts and employers to take part in a variety of interactive workshops and explore the growing range of career opportunities in the UK space industry.

Companies that participated in the Expo included Rolls Royce, AMEC, EDF Energy, NaREC, Quest UAV Ltd, The National Space Academy, Durham University, Northumbria University, Newcastle College and Northumberland College.

Trevor Swann, director of strategy and standards for Ashington Learning Partnership, said: “We’ve been blown away by the positive feedback from students, parents, employers and teaching staff.

“Our aim was to showcase this rapidly growing sector of Britain’s economy and present the fantastic job opportunities available locally for students with an interest in STEM subjects.

“We are now putting plans in place to make The Great North East Space and Engineering Expo an annual event. It’s been fantastic working with the National Space Academy and local companies to illustrate how diverse and fascinating science and particularly engineering can be.”

Ruairi Hardman, from North East Business Award-winning Quest UAV Ltd in Amble, which specialises in the design and manufacture of drones for surveying, monitoring and mapping landscapes, showed students how to use a flight simulator and develop processing software to create interactive maps.

He said: “All too often talented youngsters think they have to leave the region to find work. The Expo presented a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with students to highlight the diverse range of tech companies operating in the region and the importance of enthusiastic new engineering talent with maths and science skills to ensure its continued success.”

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