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Clyde based sailors support STEM roadshow

25 September 2017
Royal Navy personnel teamed-up recently with colleagues from the RAF and BAE Systems to give Glasgow school kids hands-on experience of coding and robotics.

The science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) roadshow will run for three weeks this term and will continue throughout the academic year, touring primary and secondary schools all over the UK.  The launch event took place at Govan High School on Wednesday, 6 September, where pupils were provided with a highly visual, educational and interactive theatre presentation on the theme of computing and engineering. 

The presentation demonstrated how robotics and computer coding are used in the real world by naval and aircraft engineers to design and build some of the world’s most technologically advanced ships and aircraft. 

One of the highlights of the day was when students were introduced to a 70cm high android robot affectionately called “Mia” that showed just how advanced robotics can be. Pupils were invited to give commands to this talking, dancing, sensing, thinking robot which is activated through voice recognition.

In addition, pupils were engaged in practical activities to help them understand how the binary system works and how computers spot an error. The roadshow also took a close look at drones, or unmanned systems and students were given the chance to control the camera contained within a drone.

We aim to enthuse and inspire our young people to consider embarking on a career in STEM so they can become our scientists and engineers of tomorrow.

Four Royal Navy officers attended the launch event at Govan High School: Commander Steve Metcalf, Lieutenant Commander Scott Sobers, Lieutenant Alex Marsh and Warrant Officer 1 Nigel Kane went along to support, with HM Naval Base Clyde’s Commander Metcalf giving a talk to the children about the importance of STEM and describing why he decided to become a marine engineer in the Royal Navy.

“I was delighted to be invited to attend the launch of the BAE Systems STEM Roadshow in Scotland,” said Commander Metcalf.

“It was great to see the pupils engaged with the drone and MIA the robot and really encouraging for our future to see them interested in the technology that was on display. We aim to enthuse and inspire our young people to consider embarking on a career in STEM so they can become our scientists and engineers of tomorrow.”

While in Scotland the roadshow aims to visit 25 schools and reach over 4,000 students across the Glasgow, Ayrshire and Stirling regions. As well as the launch in Govan High School, the roadshow also visited The Vale of Leven Academy and Dumbarton Academy in the first week.

The Royal Navy’s Commodore Andy Cree, Assistant Chief of Staff Training said:  “The Royal Navy is proud to support this roadshow as it enables us to highlight the variety of exciting roles and opportunities available, not just within the Royal Navy, but across the whole engineering and scientific community, which, in turn, is building a better future for the UK.”

The Royal Navy has been at the vanguard in testing and exploiting new technologies in recent years.  In 2016 the navy launched “Unmanned Warrior” where, for over six-weeks, 50 different unmanned systems – which can operate underwater, on the surface and in the air – were tested off the coast of the Hebrides and West Wales. 

Meanwhile, the following year, the Royal Navy led “Information Warrior”, another major exercise designed to test its information warfare capability.  Eventually the Royal Navy hopes to use artificial intelligence technology to develop a “Ship’s Mind” at the centre of its warships, enhancing efficiency and enabling fast, complex decisions to be made automatically. 

The UK-wide roadshow, now in its twelfth year will visit some 420 schools and reach around 90,000 students. 

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