Logistics STEM Week at Wittering

Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) was the programme for students on the Logistics Residential Course at RAF Wittering.

Forty air cadets, aged between 14 and 15, were at the Station for four days as part of the National Science Technology Engineering & Maths and Industrial Cadets schemes. During their stay, the cadets took part in a full range of deployed logistics and STEM activities, organised between RAF Wittering and the Royal Air Force Youth Engagement Team.

STEM subjects are essential for those considering Royal Air Force logistics as a career. Personnel working with food and fuels need a good understanding of science, and a high level of numeracy is required for the complex calculations needed to properly equip an operation.

Students had a day of mathematics, administrative and practical exercises as they were given a hypothetical supply crisis in which an aircraft required a nose wheel. The students had a fun practical where they had to package an egg so it could withstand being stood on.

They also learnt about deployed catering with No 3 Mobile Catering Squadron, as well as getting up close and personal with Land Rover Defenders with No 2 Mechanical Transport Squadron.

In addition to a week of activities, the cadets had to complete a project called Exercise Falcon Relief. It is a term’s worth of work, based on a humanitarian crisis, compressed into a week. Through this project the students demonstrate how much they have learned about crisis planning and the logistics disciplines including movements, fuels, transport
and catering.

Proud parents of the cadets attended a ceremony where their children were presented with certificates for completing the course. Tim and Diane Winstanley travelled from Wigan in Lancashire to see their son Tom receive his certificate. Diane said: “It’s been fantastic, a great opportunity for him and there’s been such a variety
of experiences.”

Tom, who is hoping to become RAF Aircrew, said the week had been a real eye-opener. He said: “It’s been so good. People don’t really understand that there’s so much going on behind the scenes in
the Air Force.”

Warrant Officer Steve Poulton, STEM Ambassador and Project Officer for the STEM Logistics course at RAF Wittering, said: “The students have done extremely well this week and we’ve given them a lot to do. Seriously, this wouldn’t happen without volunteers from across RAF Wittering and the Air Cadet Organisation. It’s a joint effort, but you can see from the cadets how much they get from the week.”

Station Commander, Group Captain Tony Keeling, presented the cadets with their STEM certificates. After which, the Royal Air Force Youth Engagement Team then presented him with his own STEM Ambassador’s polo shirt. STEM Ambassadors are volunteers working in professional fields who promote the importance of STEM Subjects to students and schools. He said:  “The RAF is a technical service and the need for recruits qualified in science, technology, engineering and maths is constant. The STEM ambassadors at RAF Wittering are doing a great job; the cadets are having fun and they’re also learning the importance of logistics in a military environment.”