Forth Valley College is reflecting on a success of its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) schools outreach programme, following funding from SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund to supercharge the project.
SP Energy Network’s Green Economy Fund recently concluded after supporting a diverse range of projects and initiatives in communities across Scotland – including several involving Forth Valley College. Over the last three years, the Green Economy Fund has supported Scotland’s green ambitions.
The funding allowed Forth Valley College to provide innovative STEM learning in schools across Fife, West Lothian, and Edinburgh. The STEM sessions were moved online to ensure the innovative programme could continue despite the challenges of school closures during the pandemic.
The interactive sessions included ‘STEM Pick N Mix’ (nursery to P7) and ‘The Famous Four Save the Planet’ (P5 to P7), which tell the story of the ‘Famous Four’ characters who save the planet through STEM experiments and activities.
The feedback from the pupils taking part was really positive and they loved that the sessions had a ‘green focus’ – for example, looking at renewable energy. Teachers and practitioners were also able to benefit from the funding through STEM training. These sessions were designed to raise awareness, build confidence and encourage more STEM activities in the classroom.
In October 2020 – with the help of the Energy Skills Partnership (ESP) which also secured funding from SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund – Forth Valley College was one of nine colleges that established ‘Renewable & Energy Efficiency Training Centres’ across central and southern Scotland – driving the college sector’s efforts to help reduce carbon footprints and enhance the nation’s renewable energy sector.
As a result, Forth Valley College’s new Falkirk Campus welcomed an exciting delivery of solar, thermal and photovoltaic equipment, as well as air and ground source heat pumps, after the College successfully tapped into a £500,000 fund provided by the Green Economy Fund.
This specialist kit of renewable equipment enabled Forth Valley College to set up its innovative renewables workshop – which was launched by Michael Matheson Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero Energy and Transport in June 2021. The new facility will help to train the professional tradespeople needed to maintain low carbon heating systems that are rapidly becoming the norm, rather than the exception in Scotland.
Pauline Jackson, Forth Valley College Development and Fundraising Manager, said: “It has been fantastic to see the projects that received funding from SP Energy Networks deliver a wide range of community benefits through our STEM outreach sessions and the investment in equipment will be used to train the green economy workforce. Although we faced a number of challenges as a result of the pandemic, the team at SP Energy Networks were understanding and through working with them we were still able to deliver the projects successfully. A big thank you to them for all their support.”
Jillian Violaris, Green Economy Fund Manager at SP Energy Networks, said: “Forth Valley College has an outstanding reputation for innovative education programmes, so we were proud to support its schools STEM engagement programme and the creation of its new Renewables & Energy Efficiency Training Centre.
“No community can be left behind on the road to net zero emissions, and Forth Valley College is helping drive the changes needed through these outstanding programmes. We’re delighted to hear the positive feedback from schools – young people have the power to create a more sustainable future.”