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Academy pupils inspired by local professionals as RAF helicopter lands for Careers Week

To launch the first ever Careers week at Sun Academy Bradwell, a ‘Griffin’ (Bell 412) helicopter from RAF Shawbury landed at the academy on 13 March, captivating excited pupils and staff.

Chief Technician Matt Smithers and his team held workshops with Year 2 to 6 pupils including survival information, use of an ejector seat, ammunition and personal hygiene. All pupils at the academy watched the helicopter land and leave, explored the aircraft and asked questions to the display team. The visit aimed to spark an interest in STEM subjects and encourage pupils at Sun Academy Bradwell to think about their future career.

Throughout Careers Week, people working in different jobs across the community visited Sun Academy Bradwell, part of Academy Transformation Trust, to take part in workshops and activities with pupils. Stoke-on-Trent born professional boxer Scott Lawton ran a boxing training session and put on a demonstration for pupils. Officers from Staffordshire Police told Early Years and KS1 pupils about their important job as a positive role models for the community and pupils went in the police van and put on the sirens and flashing lights. Dr Gillian Rees from Stoke Health Centre, and her daughter who is currently training as a doctor, talked to Nursery pupils about their jobs and training, and gave a detailed, hands-on display of the equipment they use to do their jobs.

Other guests included Father Chris Routledge from St Barnabas Church in Bradwell, professional dancers from Jill Clewes Academy for Theatre Arts, and personal trainer Mrs Arthur, all of who spoke to pupils about their jobs, the skills they need and their career journey.

Sun Academy Bradwell held Careers Week to give pupils the opportunity to meet and learn from people in lots of different jobs so they can see the choices that are open to them later in life. The academy believes that it is important to help young people to think about how they may want to contribute to their community when they are older. The goal of the visits was to give pupils the self-belief that they can achieve anything they want to and inspire them to aim to reach their full potential.

Bobbie Caisley, Principal at Sun Academy Bradwell commented: “I am very pleased that the children at Sun Academy Bradwell have had such an exciting and inspiring week. It is so important to show our pupils that they can be anything they want to be and that nothing can stand in their way if they work hard and have resilience. Showing our pupils now the diverse career choices available to them and how their unique skills can help them to be successful really gives them the determination to aspire to be the best they can be. A huge thank you to all our guests who visited throughout the week and particularly to Chief Technician Matt Smithers and Flt Lt Pete Corlett and their teams for giving the children such an enjoyable experience.”

Niamh and Aidan, Year 6 pupils and Pupil Ambassadors at Sun Academy Bradwell commented: “Being able to see the RAF, watch the helicopter land and actually go in it as well learning about ejector seats and the life boat was amazing and exciting. It has given us some fabulous ideas about what we would like to be when we get older. We would like to say thank you for a memorable day and experience.”

Squadron Leader Kim Leach from RAF Shawbury said: “The Defence Helicopter Flying School at RAF Shawbury is always keen to support young people as STEM related activities help to create the engineers and scientists of the future. It is also important to raise awareness of the history and purpose of the Armed Forces and to show how these essential subjects help to shape our future success.”

The pilot, Flt Lt Pete Corlett said: “I am very grateful for the opportunities that I had at School. I always had a passion for aviation and a knowledge of STEM subjects has been very useful to me during my career to date, training as a helicopter pilot.”

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