STEM Takes Flight: The Future of Sustainable Aviation

STEM Takes Flight: The Future of Sustainable Aviation

By Rachel Bell, Head of Programmes, Education, ELBA

On 24th November 2023, we saw the sixth year of the ‘STEM in Aviation’ event, a flagship programme for London City Airport with support from ELBA. In total we had 21 East London schools in attendance, with over 500 Year 10 students gaining an insight to STEM.

The day kicked off with seven business insight sessions, showing how STEM is used within the working world. Students gained an insight into artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), aerodynamics, green hydrogen and sustainable fuel sources, engineering and the future of aviation. Thank you so much to the volunteers from the supporting companies: British Airways City Flyer, GKN Aerospace, Boeing, NATS, UK Power Network Services, Atkins Realis and Accenture. The sessions were interactive and engaging, enabling the students to understand STEM, and be introduced to future job and apprenticeship opportunities.

Sustainability was at the heart of the day, and this year the focus for the business challenge was ‘How to power London City Airport with alternative fuel’. In groups, students prepared a 2-minute presentation suggesting alternative fuel sources to help the airport infrastructure, operations and aircraft meet their goal of being carbon neutral by 2050. 8 finalists were then chosen to present their pitch in front of a panel of judges and all students. Student feedback was positive with students highlighting the following as their main learning outcomes:

“I’ve learnt how to work effectively with stem and give an engaging presentation.”

“How sustainability is important in all sectors and industries and how it tackles the problem of global warming.”

“My ability to speak to a large group of people.”

Along with the insight to STEM, students also gained transferable skills in alignment with SkillsBuilder. Throughout the day they used a combination of speaking, listening, teamwork, problem solving, creativity and aiming high to meet the task at hand. Feedback for the day was positive, with one teacher saying:

“It was such a brilliant event and such an incredible opportunity for our students to find out more about the world of aviation and it really lifted their aspirations and has made them realise that it can be a reality. The event was so meaningful and valuable. The challenge set was great and provided them with an opportunity to work as a team under timed conditions, brainstorm and put together their ideas through their presentations.”

Thank you to ExCel London for hosting, and London City Airport for continuing this incredible initiative for the students’ of East London. Finally, congratulations to our winning school, Mossbourne Victoria Park Academy!

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