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On the CREST of a Wave!

2016-02-26 13:20:49
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By Flt Lt G G Richards - 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron

Royal Air Force Air Cadets at 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron and have earned an engineering qualification after exploring real-world science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) through rejuvenating a car engine.

CREST is a UK award scheme that recognises success, and enables young people to build their skills and demonstrate personal achievement in project work. By teaming up with Newcastle College and the RAF Charitable Trust, the young air cadets were able to turn their practical learning into a qualification.

The youngsters gained a Silver and Gold CREST Award – the equivalent to a G.C.S.E. and A Level respectively.

“Basically, we took an old Ford Escort engine, stripped it down, cleaned it and rebuilt it,” explained 17 year-old cadet sergeant Alexander Findlay, of Shiremoor.

“We explored the engine to learn how it works as we stripped and cleaned each part and we then rebuilt it so that it can be used as a learning resource to teach others, “added Alex.

Cadet Louis Baptist, 16, of Benton, said; “I enjoyed learning about the ignition most as we got to do some electronics too.

“We attached LEDs to the pistons so that when they move the LED’s ignite to simulate the spark on the pistons.”

Squadron Engineering Officer, Jonny Campbell, said, “The project was led by the young people which meant that they took ownership of it and chose to focus upon certain aspects of the engine which they were curious about, enjoyed working on or viewed as relevant.

“All of the young people showed commitment and hard work over a two-year period to earn their award and I’m very proud of them.”

Rhys Wilson, STEM Co-ordinator of Newcastle College, said, "It’s been a privilege to work with the staff and cadets of 2344 Squadron and to provide an opportunity for them to apply the skills and knowledge learned in a great project completed over a sustained period.

The CREST Award reflects that hard work and dedication which will no doubt stand them in good stead throughout their lives."

Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson added, “We offer numerous activities and our STEM Development Programme is an important feature of what we do.

“I’m thankful to Newcastle College for supporting us to allow our young people to gain recognition for their project that can show educators and employers the valuable skills learnt.”

Phase two of the project will see the young people further develop their skills and knowledge, with the North East Reserve Forces and Cadet Association, as they undertake the challenge of working on an old car so it can pass an MOT.

Longbenton Squadron is currently open to new members in Year 8 or above. Please visit for further information.

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