Scottish Government boosts funding for primary school STEM outreach scheme

Nicola Sturgeon unveils additional investment in programme run by the University of the Highlands and Islands

Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Scottish Government first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a further £900,000 in funding for a science, technology, engineering and maths engagement programme targeted at primary school children.

The additional support, which has been provided by four offshore wind project developers, will allow the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to expand its STEM outreach programme to more primary school children across the north of Scotland, including schools in Orkney, the Western Isles, Shetland, Argyll and Bute, Moray, and Perthshire.  

Funding was provided by: West of Orkney Windfarm; Floating Energy Allyance; Thistle Wind Partners; and Ossian.

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The scheme, which has been running for the last six years, has promoted careers in STEM to primary school-age children in schools in the Highland Council area, providing materials and training to teachers to build their confidence and knowledge in subjects they may not be familiar with. The expansion will include the employment of eight additional part-time and two full-time STEM coordinators.

During a three-year programme of work, the STEM coordinators will work with UHI partners, schools and teachers to deliver lesson plans and equipment, including ‘Lend a Lab’ boxes, to support a range of topics, all aligned with Scotland’s national Curriculum for Excellence. They will also work with other agencies involved in STEM outreach to consider local needs and seek new partners and additional funding to ensure the development programme can be sustainable over the longer term.

Sturgeon said the programme will “help the next generation of our energy workforce develop the skills they need to embrace our net zero future.”

Alison Wilson, director of advancement and alumni engagement at UHI, added: “We want to make sure that every young person, across all of our communities, has the chance to be inspired by these opportunities, to be able to pursue their studies and to develop skills to achieve careers in the sector. Industry and academia working together like this can make a difference to the region and the choices available to our young people now and in the future.”


Sam Trendall

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