ALIenergy deliver educational sessions in local schools and within the wider community to promote STEM education and careers opportunities in Mid Argyll and Kintyre. The delivery takes a joined-up approach whereby the following elements: Introduction to STEM during Primary 7 class; Transition to secondary schools; Family learning events and local careers events - combine to provide a rolling programme taking participants on a STEM ‘journey’ from the end of primary school until they make their subject choices at secondary school. This approach aims to complement the Scotland wide drive to enhance awareness and uptake of STEM subjects and vocational opportunities.
The target area of Mid Argyll and Kintyre is a remote, rural area on the West coast of Scotland where there are challenges in access to external educational facilities, such as the Glasgow Science Centre. The importance of supporting schools with additional STEM activities is highlighted in the feedback often given by local parents and teachers:
“This is great. So much of this kind of thing gets missed out from the school curriculum. Schools often don’t have the hands-on resources that kids get so much out of.”
“I am writing to say thank you so much for providing the ALIEnergy input to our P7 Induction Days. Your hard work, enthusiasm and passion for your subject matter really rubbed off on the pupils, and they had a very valuable learning experience. The topic was ideal too; matching our theme and highly relevant to today’s environmental agenda. Thank you again for this input, and for your partnership working in our Science Department.”
ALIenergy has developed and published individual STEM activity workbooks that enable structured engagement through a student’s 2-year STEM journey and promote participant ownership of their learning experience. The project delivers a varied series of engaging workshops and family fun sessions to raise awareness of STEM and encourage young people to continue their studies in these subject areas, whilst working in partnership with local employers to provide support and information about careers and training opportunities. In 2018/19 ALIenergy worked with all S1 students in the Mid Argyll and Kintyre area (approximately 180 participants). Family learning sessions were delivered during three local events reaching a total of 353 participants made up of local students, parents/cares and the wider community including local groups and organisations. Promoting STEM education and careers in our rural area helps to mitigate the population decline and keep young people living here and contributing to the rural economy. ALIenergy is aware that there is a need for everyone, across all industries, to become more carbon conscious and people living in rural areas need to have the skills to provide innovative solutions to transitioning from fossil fuels and addressing climate challenges. By encouraging the STEM based subjects and sustainable energy use at all levels of the local community ALIenergy is raising awareness and building capacity thereby providing new opportunities for employment and business.