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Maritime project to encourage girls in STEM roles takes place at Red Funnel

Thu, Apr 27 2023

Earlier this week students from Cowes Enterprise College took part in a coding challenge on board the Red Falcon, as part of an educational project to raise awareness of the diverse careers available in the maritime sector.

Taking over Red Funnel’s Signature Lounge, six girls in Year 8, all hailing from the Isle of Wight, designed, built, and coded autonomous vessels, and navigated the ships from Southampton to East Cowes using an extensive map of the Solent. This unique and exciting STEM project has been created by certified LEGO Trainer, Stephen G Shaw, with ports, ships, cranes and even Red Funnel ferries and terminals all built with LEGO in a realistic simulation of the Solent - representing its essential maritime operators and businesses.

Mr Shaw has designed the STEM project with Hampshire students in mind, taking the project to schools both in Southampton and on the Isle of Wight to educate young people as to the career opportunities provided by the Solent and the lifeline services provided by the maritime sector on this stretch of water.
Inspired by the nationwide project ‘Maritime UK Roadshow for Girls’, an initiative grant funded by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB), both projects aim to provide a solution to the industry’s skills shortages and under representation of females in maritime careers.

Through this activity, young people can learn more about the career paths available, skills needed, and the range of opportunities both at shore side and at sea.

Stephen G Shaw, LEGO Education Academy Certified Trainer said: “Creating exciting ways to introduce career opportunities is central to the approach adopted in designing the LEGO Maritime Project. Support from local companies raises the level of engagement and interaction even further, taking the exercise beyond just a simulation. The project stands alone as an activity for Solent based students, as well as being an integral part of a wider programme from Maritime UK due to be rolled out across the UK.”

Janet Fallon, Interim Chief Executive Officer for Maritime UK, said: “The Maritime Careers Roadshow for Girls' is an essential programme designed to encourage girls in Key Stage 3 to consider STEM subjects while providing a greater awareness of the UK maritime sector. Each roadshow, held across all nations and regions, will offer students the opportunity to find out about unique maritime careers and help to support the creation of an equal and inclusive future maritime workforce.

We are delighted to have Stephen and the bespoke LEGO Maritime Project activity to help us deliver an inspiring and action-packed roadshow. Our thanks also to Red Funnel for their support with this initiative.”

Fran Collins, Chief Executive of Red Funnel, said: “We are proud to be an integral part of the Isle of Wight and Southampton community and are committed to supporting local businesses and good causes through our support for community initiatives. We’re pleased to be able to facilitate important educational sessions that encourage young people and girls into the maritime industry, and to showcase the diversity of careers available in the sector.”-