Highworth Air Training Cadets take on the STEM Challenge in a 'Flying' visit to the Defence Academy

30 January 2017 / Categories: DA News and Events

Cadets from 878 (Highworth) Squadron Air Cadets visited the Technology School at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham on Monday 23 January 2017.  

The visit was arranged by Lieutenant Colonel Jon Stott FUSILIERS, who is also a volunteer Parent Governor at Westrop School and Scout Leader in Highworth. 

A total of 30 cadets attended, mostly aged 13 years, accompanied by 8 members of staff. The cadets were treated to a fantastic ‘horrible histories' of weaponry, involving the science behind how they all work, in the armoury by Lt Col (Ret'd) John Starling followed by a 'STEM Teamwork Challenge' with SSgt Simon Jays involving engineering problem solving, communications and calculations under pressure finishing on a tour of all the Armoured Fighting vehicles and Cobra Helicopter by WO2 Stewart Baird.

Flight Lieutenant Jim Gillespie, Officer Commanding, 878 (Highworth) Squadron, said:

“This has been a fantastic opportunity for the cadets to see military technology up close and especially to be able to get hands on and experiment in a way they will remember for a long time.  It is clear all the cadets had enormous fun and will have gained a huge amount from this unique experience”.

He said he was grateful to Lt Col Jon Stott, John Starling, Sgt Maj Stew Baird and SSgt Simon Jays, for giving up their time to talk to the cadets.

Lt Col Stott added:

“I’m very proud of my team who regularly give up their own time in the evenings to support youth STEM outreach programmes. The Defence Academy is the ‘centre of gravity’ for a many of the surrounding towns and villages, providing employment and other community based opportunities for parents, schools and children, therefore it’s only natural that we should support the youth organisations such as Cadets and Scouts with outreach programmes to develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM).”

Cadet Sgt Victoria Baddeley said:

“I really enjoyed myself and I learned a good deal about the different types of armoured vehicles in use by the British Army and other countries; I was amazed at how advanced the equipment is now and how important maths and science is to the military”.

Lt Col Stott presented each cadet with a personal certificate which describes the STEM Challenge conducted at the Technology School.

He also presented Flt Lt Gillespie with a picture of Winston Churchill showing one of his quotes “Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking potential”.  He suggested the cadets might like to take the quote to heart in their future endeavours.  Flt Lt Gillespie said he will have the picture displayed in the main hall at his squadron for all the cadets to see every time they parade.  He thanked Lt Col Stott on behalf of his staff and cadets for a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

The Air Cadets is a national youth organisation for young people aged between 12 (Year 8) and 17 years of age.

878 (Highworth) Squadron is based in Newburgh Place, Highworth and parades on a Monday and Wednesday evening from 18.45 to 21.30 hr. 

For more information, please contact the Squadron on 01793 766878 during a parade evening.

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