RAF Museum STAAR Program

The STAAR program at RAF Museum Cosford this summer sounds like a marvelous opportunity for aviation-minded high schoolers! (image via RAF Museum)

While this story from the Royal Air Force Museum is very much at the edge of our remit, we are deeply committed to helping younger generations get involved in aviation – and this program for high schoolers at RAF Museum Cosford definitely fits within that category… After all, who among us wouldn’t have loved to have had this opportunity growing up?


STAAR students learning about the workings of RAF aircraft – in this case a ground-bound SEPCAT Jaguar, one of many in the training school at Cosford. (image via RAF Museum)

Have you got what it takes to be a STAAR?

The Royal Air Force Museum is offering young adults aged 14-15 years the chance to become a high-flyer in STEM, as applications for the highly commended Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme officially open on 10 February 2020.

With 60 places up for grabs, the Museum is calling on secondary school teachers across the UK to nominate students who they feel demonstrate an interest in and aptitude for one or more STEM subjects. Successful STAAR recruits will experience life as an RAF engineering trainee, and over a five-day period they will live, work, learn and solve tasks together.

With exclusive access to real aircraft and engines, this immersive hands-on programme will see recruits exploring aircraft design, gaining an understanding of an aircraft’s needs and test how innovative new materials and technologies are changing the landscape of aviation. Recruits will learn about important historical missions, explore current conflicts and potential ways in which technology will need to evolve in the future. Working together in teams, recruits will plan mock missions, fly drones to gather intelligence, and by the end of the week develop their own advanced aerospace system.

Julie Brierley, Royal Air Force Museum Cosford Access and Learning Manager said: “The STAAR week will challenge participants and encourage them to think outside the box. The opportunities and resources that STAAR offers students is second to none and invaluable for those interested in future careers in the world of advanced aerospace. We hope by the end of the week, they will leave with a sense of achievement and an enthusiasm for the future.”

STAAR is fully funded by the global aerospace and defence technology giant, Northrop Grumman, in partnership with the Royal Air Force Museum. Created to address a skills gap in the STEM industries, STAAR is an engaging programme that develops the skills needed by the next generation of engineers and innovators, encouraging them to study and consider taking up careers in STEM related fields. The programme of activities is delivered by the RAF Museum in association with RAF Cosford, RAF Youth and STEM team and Tablet Academy.

STAAR students seeing the aerodynamic effects of moving air over a simple aerofoil using a rudimentary wind tunnel. (image via RAF Museum)

Nick Chaffey, Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman UK and Europe said: “The STAAR programme is an incredible opportunity for students to learn new skills and experience the challenges and excitement of the aerospace industry. We are proud to support STAAR because we know it is vital to bring classroom STEM studies to life and provide young people with the opportunity to learn practical skills; it also gives them visibility of tangible career paths that they can pursue. Our work with the teams at the Royal Air Force Museum and RAF Cosford makes the STAAR programme stand out as an exemplar of hands-on STEM activity and we hope inspires the next generation into the aerospace sector.”

Two STAAR residential weeks are planned for up to 60 students and will be held jointly at RAF Cosford and the RAF Museum Cosford on 20-24 and 27-31 July 2020, with 30 recruits taking part each week. Two places each week will go to students on the Jon Egging Trust Blue Skies programme. Participants will also work towards a CREST Awardand an Industrial Cadet Award during the programme.

Applications open on 10 February and must be completed by a teacher explaining why their student is suitable. For more information on the STAAR programme visit rafmuseum.org/STAARThe closing date is 24 April, successful applicants will be notified early May. The class of 2020 will then be invited to attend the RAF Cosford Air Show on 14 June, where they will have the opportunity to meet with fellow recruits, STAAR partners and enjoy a day viewing the very pinnacle of the aerospace industry.

A STAAR student learning about hydraulic systems at the RAF Museum. (image via RAF Museum)
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