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23 May 2024 | YESC

Minister for Higher and Further Education shows support for YESC

Pupils from schools across Edinburgh and West Lothian joined forces to showcase their innovation and learning from their involvement in Young Engineers and Science Clubs (YESC).

Schools have been taking part in the award-winning schools STEM outreach programme throughout the year culminating in a celebration event in partnership HCI Skills Gateway.

126 young people and teachers gathered at Heriot-Watt University to exhibit their projects and compete for competition prizes. Industry volunteers and partners provided challenges which gave the young people an insight of the different career paths available through studying Science Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).

Minister for Higher and Further Education, Graeme Dey, attended the event and witnessed the impact the programme is having on young learners. He said: “STEM careers and education will be vital parts of Scotland’s future economic growth and prosperity – so it is important that young people can feel enthused by them from an early age. Today’s celebration has been a great opportunity to do just that and it has been hugely encouraging to see so many young people taking part in activities that showcase the skills they’ve developed so far.”

Susanne Beattie, Teacher, East Calder Primary, highlighted: “It’s a joy taking part in this project. Without the free resources, which are accessible for all learning abilities, our school wouldn’t be able to deliver this level of STEM learning to our pupils. The celebration event is such a treat and I’ve never seen the children more engaged or excited.”

Thomas Wild, Head of YESC said: “The projects, in partnership with our industry funders, inspire pupils and help them develop valuable skills and knowledge whilst encouraging uptake in STEM subjects and careers. The celebration event is a culmination of the project and gives an opportunity where young people can showcase their innovation and hard work whilst learning more about different career and education pathways.”

Kenneth Leitch, Principal Investigator, HCI Skills Gateway, said: We have been delighted to work with the Climate Smarter programme, not only because it considers topics which are key to sustainable construction, but also because of its ability to integrate itself into the curriculum. The level of engagement with pupils across the region has been beyond our expectations and we are confident that by providing an early introduction to learners of the critical role which the Built Environment plays on all our futures, we will see an increase in individuals choosing associated career pathways and employment.”

Pupils have participated in the Climate Smarter project which focuses on sustainable materials, energy storage and ‘smart’ technologies. This enables schools to create a tabletop model of their future eco-school, as their entry for the celebration competition. Support for this project comes from HCI Skills Gateway to allow YESC to provide schools with free resources.

Prize winners:

Climate Smarter 1st Prize – Livingston Village Primary

Climate Smarter 2nd Prize – East Calder Primary

Climate Smarter 3rd Prize – St John Olgilvie Primary

STEM Challenge 1st Prize – Liberton High

STEM Challenge 2nd Prize – Springfield Primary

STEM Challenge 3rd Prize – West Calder High School