igniting the spark
Students from schools across Northamptonshire have taken a voyage of discovery to unearth the secrets of the solar system and find out more about the science of space.

A series of space-age workshops were held at Northampton College, with pupils from Thomas Becket Catholic School, Caroline Chisholm School and Kettering Science Academy taking part in the sessions – run by The National Space Academy.

The ‘Igniting The Spark’ sessions, which saw students learn how to build a telescope, build model comets using dry ice, launch their own compressed air rocket and discover what lifeforms need to survive in space, were held throughout the day on Friday, February 23.

Patrick Leavey, deputy principal at Northampton College, said: “Studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects opens up a wide variety of interesting and exciting opportunities for the future, in many different industries and working environments all over the world.

“Many of the major challenges facing society in the 21st century need solutions which can only be developed by people with STEM skills so it’s vital we encourage people to look at studying in these areas.

“These workshops offer a compelling insight into what it would be like to both study STEM subjects and work in that field in the future. It was wonderful to see the students so engaged with their learning, having fun and discovering exciting new techniques. Hopefully it will help to ignite the spark and encourage them to study STEM subjects.”

The UK space industry is looking to grow its annual turnover to £14 billion by 2020 but to meet that growth it needs young people to choose science and engineering options and further their learning in this area.

Northampton College has forged a range of partnerships with leading businesses in the industry offering students the chance to pursue apprenticeships and earn while they learn.

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