Over the next two weeks, science and technology company, QinetiQ, is taking a mobile laboratory fitted out with interactive science experiments to schools located near to its sites in Scotland to show local school children how science can be fun. Around 1500 Scottish children aged between 11 and 14 are expected to visit the Lab during its Scottish tour.
Murdo MacDonald, QinetiQ’s Project Manager for the Scottish campaign, said: “We are all really enthusiastic about promoting science and technology and delighted that the ‘Lab in a Lorry’ is touring Scotland. Our volunteers on the Lab are all scientists or engineers who work at our Scottish sites and they are very excited about taking science into the community.”
The Lab will spend a week in Dunfermline before heading north to schools in the Kyle of Lochalsh, the Isle of Skye, the Uists in the Hebrides and then back to Kirkcaldy in Fife.
On board the Lab are three distinctive areas housing interactive experiments each of which is overseen by a member of the QinetiQ team. They will show the children how to drill for oil, demonstrate how a glass vibrates from the effects of sound and get them to test the strength of everyday materials such as paper. This latter impact tester experiment was designed by some of QinetiQ’s own graduates.
This will be the sixth time QinetiQ has taken the mobile laboratory, which is an Institute of Physics initiative, on the road to visit schools located near to its UK sites, but the first time the Lab has gone north to Scotland. A free service to schools, the ‘Lab in a Lorry’ hopes to inspire students to choose a career path in science or engineering. Over the last two years QinetiQ sponsorship has taken the Lab to English schools in Wiltshire, Worcestershire, Hampshire and Dorset where more than 4000 students have been inspired by the ‘hands on’ science experience.
As a science and technology company, QinetiQ is very keen to encourage and promote science and engineering where it can and twenty-six year old Jonathan Parry from Broadford on the Isle of Skye is one of the beneficiaries of this enthusiasm. Earlier this year, Jonathan took up a full time position as an electronics engineer with QinetiQ at the MOD’s British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre (BUTEC) in Kyle of Lochalsh after completing 2.5 years combining on the job training at QinetiQ with day release classes at Inverness College. His hard work resulted in him becoming the first person in Scotland to graduate with a Modern Apprenticeship at degree level.
As one of Europe’s largest employers of scientists, QinetiQ can and does contribute to the Government’s objective of creating a knowledge society and economy in the UK. The company makes available the skills, knowledge, commitment and enthusiasm of its experts to help the Government deliver enhanced UK STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education and adult technical literacy.