The A96 Dualling project has created a unique opportunity to engage young Scottish students in subjects such as engineering.
Inverness Leisure Centre recently hosted an event to celebrate the success of Transport Scotland’s schools engagement programme on the A96 Dualling Inverness to Nairn project.
Around 90 pupils from 10 local primary schools attended the event, which celebrated efforts to engage Scotland’s school students in STEM subjects. The event allowed local school children to present their projects to a judging panel from Transport Scotland’s design consultants, Jacobs UK Ltd . A series of prizes were awarded to the winning teams for different categories.
Committed to STEM Engagement
The Scottish Government is investing heavily in STEM engagement in the nation’s schools. Ensuring that Scotland has a highly educated and skilled population in subjects such as engineering, maths and other sciences, which will be critical to the future of the Scottish economy as it adapts to an ever-changing digital world.
As part of the governments commitment, the programme has seen a number of teachers from local schools being given training in the necessary skills to inspire children to take interest in STEM subjects and professions associated with the delivery of the A96 Dualling. The training has been provided to primary school teachers by a specialist educational supplier, Primary Engineer, which aims to give teachers the means by which to both educate and inspire.
Lise McCaffery, Regional Director for Primary Engineer, expressed her delight with the project outcomes and highlighted the important work that both the Scottish Government and its partners are doing to increase STEM engagement.
She said: “Primary Engineer is an organisation working to promote engineering skills and careers with young people across Scotland. We are delighted to have partnered with Transport Scotland in our second year of delivery of programmes with Highland schools and see the impact its making.”
The programme involves a series of progressive and linked exercises, increasing in complexity depending on the pupils’ age and skill levels. A great emphasis has been placed on engineering during this programme, which has resulted in many students taking a keen interest in the subject.
A Lasting Legacy
Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, highlighted the potential lasting impact of the programme. Once tools have been downed on the A96 project, the communities nearby will still benefit from the engagement programme – providing a lasting legacy that will benefit local communities and young students.
He said: “As well as upgrading the A96 between Inverness and Aberdeen to dual carriageway, this Government recognises the importance of benefiting the communities who live along the route as we design and build the new road.
“It is fitting in the Year of Young People that our schools engagement is leaving a legacy for the future, training teachers to deliver a programme for pupils in local schools which helps them develop an interest in engineering. This year it is very encouraging that the team has reached around 540 local school children, more than double the number reached last year, with presentations, mentoring and participation in the car model projects.
“The fact that engineers from Transport Scotland and the design consultants working on the A96 Dualling Programme are taking the time to offer their expertise will help inspire the children to consider being the engineers of the future.”