SuSTEMability helps North East youngsters turn the spotlight on environmental issues

October 26, 2021

The North East’s next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics stars will get the chance to put their talents to the test as a unique programme is rolled out across the region.

The SuSTEMability challenge was successfully piloted in primary schools by North East Scotland College (NESCol) during the 2019/20 session and is set to go from strength to strength thanks to the backing of main sponsor OPITO.

OPITO, the global, not-for-profit safety and skills organisation for the energy industry, has pledged its support for the initiative, alongside a number of key partners.

SuSTEMability is designed to inspire primary school pupils to play an active role in the region’s focus on sustainability.

Teams are invited to tackle real world environmental issues by designing, developing, engineering, and building solutions in a creative and fun format.

More than 200 young people from ten schools  across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire will participate in 2021/22. Teams from  P4 to P7 year groups are provided with materials and expert support to help turn their concepts into prototypes.

A judging panel will select finalists to compete for the SuSTEMability title – with the inaugural winners from last year’s pilot coming from Lochpots Primary School, who impressed with their solar-powered litter-picking robot.

NESCol Principal Neil Cowie said: “It is fitting that we launch SuSTEMability at a time when attention is fixed on Scotland as we countdown to COP26 and pressing global environmental issues are put in sharp focus. The support of OPITO as main sponsor and of all of our valued partners is vital to the success of the project and very much appreciated.

“NESCol is committed to putting sustainability at the heart of the College’s curriculum and our operations. SuSTEMability is an excellent example of our work in that area and of the commitment to supporting the next generation to develop their passion for STEM.

“The knowledge and creativity of the North East’s young people, as the workforce of the future, will provide the key to unlocking the ideas and innovation that will be so crucial not only on a local level but across the world.”

Andy Williamson, Head of Energy Transition at OPITO, said: “OPITO is delighted to support the SuSTEMability challenge and encourage young people from across the region to help develop innovative solutions for the future energy system, and shape the way we live more sustainably. With the eyes of the world firmly fixed on Glasgow and COP26, it is the optimum time for us to look to the next generation for ideas and creative thinking, as they are critical to delivering a net zero future that provides long term career opportunities.”

SuSTEMability is delivered in partnership with OPITO, and supported by the Stem Ambassador Hub, the Aberdeen Science Centre, Stork, the Net Zero Technology Centre, Moray East Offshore Windfarm and Emerson.

To access resources for teachers and teams or to find out more about the programme click here.

The Lochpots Primary School team members who clinched first place in the SuSTEMability challenge in 2019/20.