Organised by the region’s Raising Aspirations in Science Education (RAiSE) team, the two-day visit demonstrated to their colleagues from throughout Scotland how STEM is applied in a range of industries and settings and examples for meaningful opportunities to engage children.
Dr Gillian Brydson, Head of Education at Dumfries & Galloway Council, said:
“Dumfries & Galloway is a region which combines the traditional with a forward looking economic perspective. This STEM programme has given us a platform to showcase many STEM opportunities in our rural context. Our traditional employers welcomed the group to demonstrate how their industries continue to evolve and embrace STEM – this is important for our young people as many jobs for the future will be within these sectors. It is through equipping our pupils with STEM attitudes and attributes that we will prepare, enable and inspire the growth of our local economy.”
As part of the two-day tour, the delegation observed technology used in the egg and dairy industries at Elrig Farm, Port William and Brigehouse Farm, Whithorn. Engineering used by small businesses in the food and drink sector and the biodiversity of gardens were explored in detail.
The group of eight visited sites including the National Trust for Scotland’s Threave Gardens and Estate, Galloway Hydropower Scheme at Tongland Power Station, Crafty Distillery in Newton Stewart, River Cree Hatchery and Habitat Trust.
Karen Creighton, Primary Science Development Officer (PSDO) for Dumfries & Galloway, said:
“We’re really addressing two issues here in terms of broadening the STEM educational mind set within rural communities such as those here in Dumfries & Galloway. One is the well-reported ‘brain drain’ in rural areas with many young people moving to cities once they leave school in the belief there is a need to do so to pursue career opportunities. The other is the need for a new generation to be equipped with the STEM skills industries needs to thrive in the decades to come.