Airbus Foundation Discovery Space

This year I have been delighted to work closely with the Airbus Foundation Discovery Space.  This is an innovative project led by Hertfordshire LEP, Airbus Defence and Space, the Airbus Foundation and North Hertfordshire College. These groups have collaborated to set up a science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) discovery centre aimed at running inspirational experiences for Key Stage 2 and 3 students. One of the defining features of the centre is its location – one of the rooms overlooks the Mars Rover Yard at Airbus, where scientists and engineers work to test the Mars Rover vehicles on the surface of Mars, replicated in a large room in Stevenage!  Visitors are able to watch the Rover prototypes being put through their paces in preparation for the expedition to Mars.

 This week I was privileged to observe a ‘materials’ workshop being delivered to year 5 students who were visiting the centre.  Shell, our Centre Manager, delivered her workshop with enthusiasm and passion and there were many magical moments as the children watched a range of demonstrations with open-mouthed awe and wonder.  The power of a centre such as this to inspire students in different ways is seriously impressive.  Last Saturday Shell and the team also opened up the centre to the local community running a ‘Space Saturday’ event that sold out within seconds.

 It is vitally important we create scientists and engineers for the future of our economy and development of society.  Centres such as the Airbus Foundation Discovery Place play an important role in inspiring our children towards these careers.  It is fantastic that organisations such as the Airbus Foundation and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership are prepared to invest in the future in this way.  I am proud to be associated with the centre and look forward to being a part of its future development.