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Academy9 MEGA CHALLENGE inspires the next generation of Infrastructure Professionals

16 December 2022

A9 Academy 22

In November the team from Academy9, an educational initiative from Transport Scotland, visited the Highlands to work with Grantown Grammar and Kingussie High School to deliver their ‘Apprenticeship Academy’. This immersive and interactive 2.5-day event is targeted at S2/S3s, and challenges pupils to explore the scale and complexity of an infrastructure project while developing their skills working within a team environment. It also gives pupils an insight into STEM-based careers.

Over the course of the 2.5 days pupils worked with mentors from Academy9, each of them experts in the field of planning, environment, construction and engineering, to carry out a series of events that prepared them for the final bridge-building MEGA CHALLENGE.

The event was a huge success and Barbara Hanning from Academy9 said: “Pupils’ design solutions for a bridge with various engineering and environmental constraints were varied, detailed and fantastic. The pupils had to harness their teamwork, communication, problem-solving, numeracy, literacy and creativity skills to complete the project and they all persevered through various challenges to succeed in their end goal.”

Pupils commented that the experience had improved their communication skills and that during the activities they had made lots of new friends as well as learning how to juggle during a mindset icebreaker task. A survey revealed that they had gained an improved knowledge of STEM careers, from 48% reporting ‘good to excellent knowledge’ before the event to 94% reporting ‘good to excellent knowledge’ by the end of the 2.5 days.

On the final day, parents and relatives were invited to come into school to see the results of the pupils’ work and witness their bridge models being tested to destruction. There was then an award ceremony with prizes for aesthetics, sustainability, innovation, teamwork and bridge strength.

DYWICH School Co-ordinator Debbie Khadi said “It really was a fantastic event and great to see pupils from Grantown and Kingussie working together in teams and learning about STEM in a fun and engaging way. Academy9 was like a finely oiled machine the way they had put the whole programme together so pupils’ learning builds throughout the event. More importantly it was a fun 3 days for everyone involved.”

Through educational initiatives like this, Academy9 brings together industry and education providing young people with the opportunity to be involved in progressive STEM activities and experiences. This gives our future generation of workforce the chance to learn both hard and soft skills and consider STEM -related careers.

To find out more about the work they do in schools visit: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/academy9/