Announcement: High-flying students compete for place on aerospace residential

February 28, 2022

The Royal Air Force Museum, in partnership with Northrop Grumman in the UK, is offering UK students a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to stay on base at RAF Cosford and immerse themselves in aerospace engineering and technology.

Students with a passion for STEM can compete in a series of challenges with the chance to win a place on the award winning five-day Summer Time Advanced Aerospace Residency (STAAR) programme.

To compete for a place on the STAAR residential, teams of Year 9 students across the UK, will tackle three STEM challenges exploring aerospace concepts. The challenges will require investigation into real life RAF operations, decrypting secure encrypted communications and letting their imaginations fly by designing their own aircraft.

Each challenge is aligned with the national curriculum and is to be completed by students together in the classroom, culminating in a final presentation judged by a panel of experts. Activities will be supported by webinars hosted by the STAAR team, giving teachers and students the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the programme.

Teachers can now register places for a team of up to 10 students, who they feel have the ambition, aptitude, and interest in STEM subjects to take part in the STAAR Challenge. The four schools who most successfully complete all three challenges and best present their findings, will win a five-day STAAR residential camp at RAF Cosford in Shropshire, where they will develop their skills further.

‘Our STAAR mission is to engage the next generation of young engineers and innovators by bringing classroom STEM studies to life. As we work towards delivering our fifth STAAR programme we are delighted to have been awarded a Level Silver Industrial Cadet Award. This accreditation certifies that our activities are designed to guarantee that students gain valuable insight into the world of work, develop skills, and increase their careers awareness. The competition element allows us to reach students across the UK and overseas, with the top students going on to gain first-hand experience in the aerospace industry. We look forward to welcoming the STAAR class of 2022.’ Julie Brierley, Head of Access and Learning at RAF Museum Cosford.

‘STAAR is a unique opportunity to learn, experience and apply STEM subjects taught in the classroom to the real world of aerospace. This inspiring programme aims to encourage more students to study STEM subjects, having a clear view of the career opportunities and pathways that await them.  In addition to building technical skills, students will also learn to work in teams, to solve problems and apply alternative perspectives to succeed in a series of practical challenges. These are critical skills that our customers value as we support them to meet future challenges in aerospace and defence.

Nick Chaffey

Chief Executive of Northrop Grumman UK, Europe and Middle East

‘We’re delighted to be working in partnership to accredit STAAR through Industrial Cadets, enabling young people to receive Industrial Cadets awards to demonstrate and celebrate their achievements. Programmes like STAAR are paramount in helping young people work towards gaining employment in growth sectors by educating on UK industries. By boosting employability skills and building students’ professional networks, we are creating a viable pathway into industry and developing your talent pipeline to secure the future success of the STEM industry. STAAR is a fantastic opportunity for students to take a positive step towards a potential future career and show their achievements to educators and potential employers.’ Julie Feest, CEO of EDT (Engineering Development Trust)

How to take part in the STAAR Competition:

  • 28 February – Applications for the competition open. Register online at
  • 7 March – Challenge begins.
  • 8 April – All three STEM challenges must be complete, and presentation submitted.
  • 25 April – Work will be judged and results announced. The four winning schools will be notified.
  • The competition entries will be judged by a panel of experts from the Royal Air Force and the Aerospace Industry. The winning schools will enjoy a five-day residential camp, taking place 18-22 and 25-29 July for up to 20 students each week.

The STAAR programme is fully funded (including travel, food and accommodation for the residential phase) by Northrop Grumman and is delivered in partnership with the RAF Museum and Tablet Academy, with the generous support of RAF Cosford and the RAF Youth and STEM Engagement Team. 

For more information on the STAAR programme visit

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