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Powering up science skills for pupils in rural Scotland

Published: 19/02/2024

Industry and public sector collaborate to inspire future workforce

SSEN Transmission and the Science Skills Academy (SSA), run by HIE, are joining forces to power up science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills for hundreds of school pupils across rural Scotland with a four-month Pop-Up “Newton Room” programme.

The out-of-classroom, hands-on sessions for school pupils, from 10-14 years old, aim to ignite interest in STEM subjects and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers.

The pop-up sessions started in Portree in January and will run until early March before moving to Plockton later that month, and then onto Nairn for a week in April. Supporting in-person pop-up classes, additional online sessions will be run in collaboration with the Glasgow Science Centre, reaching more rural areas beyond the Highlands.

Dr Emma Plato, the Science Skills Academy’s STEM manager, welcomed the support of SSEN Transmission:

“Research tells us that engaging young people early with hands-on activities is key to helping them see their future in STEM. Working with SSEN Transmission will help us bring careers to life, as well as highlighting the 400+ jobs they are creating across Scotland this year.

“We welcome their commitment to developing young people in the Highlands, as they will be at the centre of Scotland's energy transition, as well as space and blue economy sectors in the years to come.”

SSEN Transmission’s head of stakeholder engagement, Chris Bell, said:

“As we deliver our £20bn investment programme in the north of Scotland over the next decade, it’s important that we leave a positive lasting legacy for communities in the areas we’ll be operating in.

“Partnering with the Science Skills Academy, who have an excellent track record in reaching school pupils across the Highlands, will help create the next generation of scientists and engineers and is one way we can work towards delivering that legacy.”

The school children are taking part in the highly-acclaimed Scandi-inspired Newton modules, and in this series the focus will be on energy. The full-day learning sessions are delivered by SSA STEM engagement officers. The young people carry out practical projects and have access to STEM kit not available as standard in classrooms.

The Pop-Up Newton Room complements SSA's permanent Newton Rooms in Thurso, Dingwall, Inverness, and Fort William. The collaboration with SSEN Transmission supports SSA’s aim to reach P6-S2 pupils in more rural areas, offering them an opportunity to explore STEM subjects first-hand.

Find out more about the Science Skills Academy

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