Languages and STEM subjects give students a flying start.

12 Apr 2013

STEMNET, a body set-up to inspire students to learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics has been working in partnership with CILT Cymru on a project which sends ambassadors in to schools to prove that combining science and languages can lead to a world of opportunities.

Through this scheme and as part of its Compact project, St. Richard Gwyn Catholic High School in Flint and Airbus, the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer, have been linked up in a project involving Year 9 students. The two aims of the project were to familiarise students with the design process for aircraft and also to increase their knowledge of the usefulness and marketability of languages as a skill for the workplace.

The project day took place in February and a keen group of students were delighted to welcome Kimberly Stephenson from Airbus to the school. Kimberley, a Canadian who is fluent in French and Italian, gave a fascinating introductory talk on the theme of combining STEM subjects with languages illustrating how this had helped her and many of her colleagues in their careers thus far. This was followed by a question and answer session where students found out even more about the company Airbus and about languages in the workplace.

            working out the instructions

                   Working out the instructions

Students then split into groups and each one designed an aircraft following instructions and taking into consideration manufacturing constraints presented to them in French and Spanish. Kimberley and colleagues from the school, STEMNET and CILT Cymru were on hand to assist the students who have no previous knowledge of Spanish to complete the task. Kimberly advised the students that this task replicates exactly what can happen during the design and manufacturing process when instructions arrive from other plants across Europe in different languages. Students relished the challenge of the task and gained valuable insight into how languages and STEM subjects as combined skills can enhance their career prospects in many ways.


             Teamwork during the design process

The MFL department was delighted with the workshop and the students' initiative and enthusiasm throughout the activities of the afternoon. Our thanks go to Kimberly Stephenson from Airbus and we look forward to the project continuing to develop in the future with schools across North Wales.


  Testing the planes

Preparing to test the planes

                Launching the planes 

                      Launching the planes

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