Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel Recognised for Stem Commitment

Aircraft seating manufacturer receives UK Space Agency funded award from ESA astronaut, John McFall

COLLINS Aerospace in Kilkeel has been recognised for its ongoing commitment to STEM activities, receiving the award for Best Small to Medium Enterprise in the UK Space Agency funded, Space Inspiration Awards, which were held during this year’s UK Space Conference in Belfast last month.

Space Inspirations is a UK Space Agency funded initiative, which is part of a wider STEM Ambassador programme, that encourages people from the Space Industry or those who have a background in Space education to engage with local schools and communities, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of Space Professionals.

Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel, an RTX business, was nominated for the award by Space Inspirations’ regional partner, Deliberate Learning, due to the successful running of RTX’s annual Quadcopter Challenge with local schools, having great STEM ambassadors, and also being excellent Nuffield Research Placement hosts.

In recent years, Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel has spearheaded a number of STEM initiatives to help develop a pipeline of talent within the local and surrounding areas, believing that by exposure to STEM-related subjects from an early age, it piques their interest and encourages them to pursue a STEM-related career. In 2022, members of Collins’ STEM Council mentored pupils from local school, St Louis Grammar, to victory in the UK-wide Quadcopter Challenge, becoming the first ever school from Northern Ireland to win the challenge.

The award for Best Small to Medium Enterprise was awarded to Rachel Chambers, Patricia Cunningham and Andrew Gibbons from Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel during a ceremony held at ICC Belfast, on Tuesday 21st November.

Speaking about the award, Patricia Cunningham, Supplier Quality Manager and STEM Ambassador said, “We are delighted to receive this award from STEM Learning, recognising our contribution to STEM in the local area and Northern Ireland as a whole. STEM forms an integral part of our success here in Kilkeel and has always been at the core of what we do. We’re continually looking at ways to encourage younger students to pursue STEM-related careers, and receiving this award confirms that what we are doing is making a difference. A big thank you to Gill Humes from Deliberate Learning for the nomination.”

Gill Humes, Director at Deliberate Learning said, “We are extremely passionate about STEM education here at Deliberate Learning and to share that passion with a global manufacturer such as Collins Aerospace is hugely refreshing. The world is constantly changing, and we need to ensure that we have the skills and workforce to compete and ensure success in the global economy in the years ahead. The STEM activities carried out by Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel is maximising those chances and therefore this award is wholly deserved. Well done!”

Craig Sinclair, Space Inspirations Project Officer at STEM Learning said, “This is the first year of the Space Inspirations awards and we wanted to recognise those companies that are making a difference in inspiring the next generation of Space professionals. It is great to see the work that Collins Aerospace is doing in encouraging students into STEM, and it’s fitting that the company is being recognised during the UK Space Conference in Belfast. Well done to all those involved.”