Royal Navy displays help promote STEM at The Big Bang Solent

A Mk 3 Lynx helicopter packed full of engineering QR Codes was just one of an impressive array of Royal Navy displays enjoyed recently by youngsters at ‘The Big Bang @ Solent’.

The Big Bang @ Solent’ is the South Coast’s biggest event for young people to explore the options for an exciting career within Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Over 1,000, 11-16 year olds attended the event at The Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton. Suzanne Lewis, Team Manager at the Education Business Partnership, who organised the event said:

“Today’s event is all about inspiring children to explore all the careers and opportunities that they can go on to do post 16 involving Science Technology Engineering and Maths. In particular, we hope to inspire girls to considering a career within these areas of industry.

“We invite all schools from the Solent region, from the Dorset border to West Sussex and right up to Winchester. We’ve also increased the number of exhibitors up to 68 this year, with many of those attending offering an activity not only within the outdoor to go alongside the HMS Sultan helicopter.”

A lot of the students already know that the Wildcat has replaced the Lynx and they’re really keen to learn a little bit more and understand what the differences are between the two

Chief Petty Officer Sandra Parkinson from the Training Design and Support Organisation

King AlfredThe Lynx was manned by a combined team of volunteers from the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School (RNAESS) who provided the airframe and representatives from Southampton Careers Office.

Chief Petty Officer Sandra Parkinson from the Training Design and Support Organisation who design and maintain courses within the school said:

“It’s lovely to see the kids running freely around the aircraft, pressing buttons and asking lots of questions. For a lot of the children they won’t have had an opportunity to get up close to a helicopter, let alone sit in one so it’s really nice.

“They’ve been asking about the aircrafts capability, how fast does it go and how high it can climb. A lot of them already know that the Wildcat has replaced the Lynx and they’re really keen to learn a little bit more and understand what the differences are between the two.”

Elsewhere at the event, Royal Navy participation also included Reserves from HMS King Alfred who used an interactive model of a WR-21 Gas Turbine Engine to teach students about how design and maintenance can be combined to improve an engine’s efficiency.

In addition representatives from the Royal Navy University Technical College team were also in attendance with their robot ‘Jack’ to promote UTC Portsmouth.