Inovamais (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 4435-4442
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
The aeronautics industry (AI) is a key driver of European cohesion and competitiveness, requiring a highly qualified and innovation-oriented workforce with a strong background of science and engineering. However, the current European demographic context and trends - characterised by an ageing population and decline of younger age groups - point to a preoccupying shortage of qualified personnel, which is already affecting and will affect the AI, unless conjugated efforts at different levels lead European youngsters to choose educational paths that provide access to careers in this sector.

Youth occupational choices are influenced by several factors, including the life context, personal aptitudes and educational achievements. The cultural and social context (through interaction with family, school and community) are instrumental in how children and young adults learn about and explore careers that ultimately lead to their career choices.

The FLY HIGHER project ( aimed at raising the interest of young Europeans to scientific and engineering activities related to aeronautics and fostering sustained interactions between the aeronautics industry and school community. This EC funded project (FP7, grant agreement n° 314383) focused on development of the “Fly Higher Mission”, which comprised different activities targeted at
(i) children and youth,
(ii) teachers and educators,
(iii) careers advisors, all based on the strategy of making a difference for children and youngsters when they choose their training, education and future career paths.

Under the motto “Dream it, Explore it, Learn it and Get it!” the Fly Higher Mission developed and implemented a set of “Edutainment Activities” (e.g. study-visits, aeronautics fairs, competitions) and materials for teachers, schools, careers counselors, children and parents. These materials include: 5 Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Tutorials to be used by teachers in classroom or directly by students; 10 activities for students and teachers/schools to be implemented during classes or as additional exploratory exercises; 15 career kits profiling the most important jobs currently demanded by the industry; 1 cards game with 7 aeronautics careers to discover more about each career while playing a fun game.
Fly Higher involved directly hundreds of professionals (including teachers, counselors, careers advisors, aeronautics professionals) and thousands of children across the 5 partner countries (Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, France and The Netherlands), providing resources to students, teachers and counselors to boost science education and learn about career possibilities in the aeronautics sector. It has proved to be very important to reach children from an early age (from 10-11 years old) – whereas many initiatives currently focus on “pre-university” students (14-17 year old) – as they are still in time to be influenced to study STEM subjects and engage in a career related to aeronautics.

Despite the very positive feedback and evidences that it is possible to include aeronautics examples especially in STEM related subjects, many teachers still perceive Aerospace as advanced engineering, not realizing how many opportunities there are in this wide field.
Science, engineering, aeronautics, tutorials, students, teachers, counselors, edutainment, teaching materials.