NFU awarded £30,000 to teach STEM through agriculture

The Royal Academy of Engineering has recognised the value of STEM learning through the lens of food and farming
The Royal Academy of Engineering has recognised the value of STEM learning through the lens of food and farming

The NFU has been awarded £30,000 by the Royal Academy of Engineering to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning through agriculture.

The funding will allow the union to deliver five interactive afterschool sessions in the autumn term where children will get a taste of life as an agricultural engineer.

The afterschool clubs, called Anytime, Anywhere Engineers, will be hosted once a week over the course of five weeks.

The funds will also enable the NFU to create more 3D tours to include different engineering workspaces, such as Harper Adams University and the Small Robot Company.

The project is the latest STEM resource which will be freely available with the Farmvention competition, Farming STEMterprise programme and Science Farm Live lessons.

The union's president Minette Batters said there was a skills gap across all STEM roles and a lack of young people taking up agri-engineering courses.

“This is such an exciting and important time for the engineering industry which plays a crucial role within food production, and all aspects of our society," she said.

“But at the moment there are children who don’t get enough exposure to the opportunities in engineering, and whose schools don’t have the opportunity to explore the topic in much detail or take classes on trips to science and engineering museums.

"That’s why this funding is so important – so we can help inspire the next generation of engineers both within and outside of agriculture."

The success of previous NFU Education projects have shown how beneficial learning in the context of farming can be.

In March, more than 223,000 students signed up for its Science Farm Live lessons.

Mrs Batters added: "This recognition by the Royal Academy of Engineering is a further testament to the benefits of using agriculture to teach these ever important topics.

“Addressing this skills gap is going to be key for the future of our country and teaching STEM through the lens of food and farming is a great way to do it.

"Not only does it really ignite children’s passion for these subjects but it’s completely relevant and translatable to their learning as every aspect of STEM is used on farms."