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27th August 2020

The RAF takes students on a virtual humanitarian aid mission

In partnership with The Smallpeice Trust charity, the RAF has announced its new virtual online course in ‘Humanitarian Aid Engineering Experience’, tasking young people with delivering support to remote areas in need.

Aimed at Year nine, 13-14 year old students, the virtual course will provide first-hand experiences of how the RAF supports the many challenges facing the world; from floods in the UK, to the Ebola outbreak in Africa, and devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean.

The online courses, which are replacing the usual face to face on-site training are designed to meet The Smallpeice Trust’s mission of giving young people, especially girls, the role models and experiences needed to fuel their passion for engineering related careers.

An expert team of Smallpeice Trust education officers, working in partnership with the RAF have developed the course with a series of engineering challenges that the students will have to overcome. This will include making an estimation of the equipment that will be required to set up a RAF Forward Operation Base, designing and building prototypes and tackling budgets. Students will get to creatively solve practical problems, testing their lateral thinking, and explore a range of career paths that could take them around the world.

Dr Kevin P. Stenson, CEO of The Smallpeice Trust said, “With a deficit of two million people in UK engineering and the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe (just 11 per cent of women are currently in the UKs engineering workforce), we are working with our partner organisations including the RAF to excite children about the possibilities of working in STEM. The Humanitarian Aid Engineering Experience enables pupils to learn about the practical ways the RAF helps countries in need. During Covid-19 these remote courses are proving to be a successful alternative to engage young people and help them develop key engineering skills at home.”

Russell Barnes, wing commander at the RAF, said, “We’re excited to work with The Smallpeice Trust on this new online course which will enable more young people to experience the positive impact of engineering, as they work on real-life challenges, all from the comfort of their homes. The mission challenges are designed to encourage creativity and problem-solving abilities, key skills not only for engineering but all aspects of life.”

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