Royal Navy support Scottish launch of Subs in Schools

Royal Navy personnel joined partners, Engineering in Motion (EIM) on Thursday, June 13, for the launch of a new Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative.

SUBS in Schools is a new STEM learning programme which is being introduced into 14 secondary schools in Scotland by EIM with the Royal Navy as lead supporter.

The programme will be managed in partnership with ESP, a Stirling based MOD STEM partner.

The programme invites school teams to compete for the SUBS in Schools Scottish Champions’ title, with the students’ work judged by a panel of industry experts.

My own STEM journey has taken me from Rosyth to every continent except Antarctica. It’s an opportunity I would not have had without a career in engineering.

Captain Jim Band RN

Alongside the practical work of building the vehicle, students need to document their work, prepare a presentation and share their engineering knowledge with the judging panel.

This cross-curricular initiative is designed to inspire passion for STEM and marine engineering, highlighting career relevance and encouraging students to consider a STEM related career pathway.

Schools from all over Scotland are taking part and some of the students and teachers went along to the event to receive their starter kits and to learn a bit more about the programme with a demonstration from a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).

In addition, the pupils also got the chance to pilot the ROVs themselves and once they got the hang of it they were racing the two submersibles against each other.

As lead supporter, the Royal Navy supports the Subs in Schools programme in order to raise awareness of maritime engineering opportunities for young people, through participation in a competitive design, build and test competition.

STEM engagement in education is part of a UK-wide initiative to address shortfalls in critical skill areas and it hopes to encourage young people to engage.

Captain Jim Band, The Royal Navy’s STEM lead at the event, said: “I have no hesitation in recommending a career in a STEM-related field to young people.

“My own STEM journey has taken me from Rosyth to every continent except Antarctica.  It’s an opportunity I would not have had without a career in engineering.”

The Captain, who began his apprenticeship in marine engineering at Rosyth dockyard, moved into aircraft engineering after undergoing Royal Navy officer training. 

He went on to serve onboard every aircraft carrier in the fleet except the new Queen Elizabeth class.

“The competition should be a lot of fun,” he continued. “I’m really looking forward to seeing the results at the final next year.”

The competition is for teams of six students and is designed to attract both boys and girls. It is open to year groups S1 to S3, ages 12-14, with this Scotland pilot year introducing the Development Class. The students will develop their ROV and compete at a National Final in April 2020.

Rear Admiral John Weale CB OBE, Flag Officer Scotland & Northern Ireland, said: “For over one-hundred years the Royal Navy have been pioneers, developers and leaders of submersible technology.

The underwater environment is a unique and fascinating space, and one which it would not be possible to operate in if it were not for the challenges overcome by those in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

“I am delighted that the Royal Navy is supporting the SUBS in Schools programme and that students in Scottish schools will have this amazing opportunity to develop STEM skills.

“By working together in small teams, the participants will also gain valuable experience in project management, design, analysis and hands-on manufacturing, as well as valuable work-place skills which will serve them well.

“Scotland has a long and proud history of engineering and STEM. Hopefully, through projects such as this, that connection will continue far into the future.”