Nicola Sturgeon launches flight academy for pupils at Glasgow Science Centre

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has helped launch a flight academy for pupils at the Glasgow Science Centre.

As Glasgow Science Centre opens the doors to its new state-of-the-art Newton Flight Academy, secondary pupils have set out a promise to the planet as they look to live greener and more sustainable lives.

Pupils from King’s Park Secondary School made a commitment to use their creativity and curiosity to protect the planet’s natural resources.

What is the flight academy?

The Newton Flight Academy is the latest instalment to be housed at Glasgow Science Centre and will be a permanent classroom used to teach students aviation-related STEM concepts; inspiring engineers and scientists of tomorrow to develop the ideas and technologies that will shape the future of more sustainable aircraft and aviation.

Developed in partnership with FIRST Scandinavia, made possible through an investment from Boeing, and supported by University of Strathclyde and Mathworks, the Academy hosts three full-motion flight simulators. It is the first Newton Flight Academy to open in the UK and will work in close partnership with the Science Skills Academy in the Highlands and Islands, which has been operating Newton Rooms since 2019.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Newton Flight Academy.First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Newton Flight Academy.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Newton Flight Academy.

Originally developed in Norway, the Newton Concept aims to provide high-quality and unique learning experiences for young people all over the world. With nearly 50 Newton Rooms operating today, students are gaining the 21st-century skills they need through curriculum-based practical learning, with this new development at the Glasgow Science Centre one of only two Newton Flight Academies worldwide with the other based in Norway.

The Academy will cover themes including space, biofuels, and advanced materials and manufacturing, and will provide immersive and experiential learning programmes that will enable S2 and S3 pupils across Scotland to engage in real-world challenges while working alongside industry professionals.

Some of those S2 and S3 pupils have now said that those who go on to jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be “bold” in their efforts to contribute to future innovations as part of their promise to the planet.

The promise read: “Change won’t happen overnight but that change starts now. Our first action comes today as we mark the launch of the Newton Flight Academy and learn more about sustainable aviation.”

What did Nicola Sturgeon say?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was also in attendance at the launch of the Newton Flight Academy and was treated to a special tour of the new facility – trying out one of the simulators to take a virtual flight around Glasgow.

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said: “Less than six months ago, the world came together in Glasgow to re-affirm the pledge to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

“Decarbonising air travel is essential to keeping that commitment alive, and I have no doubt the future engineers and scientists inspired through this Academy will have an important role in addressing that challenge.

“It’s a credit to the work of the Glasgow Science Centre, Scotland’s expertise in aerospace and aviation manufacturing, and our world-leading institutions that this site was selected as the UK’s first Newton Flight Academy, and I am delighted to be here to help launch it today.”

‘Ignite a passion’

Stephen Breslin, chief executive of Glasgow Science Centre, said: “Through the Newton Flight Academy, we hope to ignite a passion for science and technology, bringing young people together with industry and academia to create meaningful engagements that encourage them to explore their ambitions. We are thrilled to open the doors of the new state-of-the-art facility, and welcome our workforce of the future as they make their promise to our planet.

“It is difficult to imagine where we would be without science and technology and as we look to the future, those applications will be instrumental in solving the biggest challenges of our time. It is vital that collaboration is at the heart of our efforts and the Newton Flight Academy will instil an innovation pipeline in Scotland’s sustainable aviation efforts.

“We look forward to working with our future scientists, engineers, technicians and mathematics, as we, together with our partners, innovate and help engineer solutions.”