9th Appleton Space Conference – HRH Prince Andrew Duke of York

“We need students to get involved in science and engineering, we have a problem with
growth in space industry and needing to bring more people into this. Its important to
communicate the excitement of science and technology.
Where are you going to get the next generation of young people from?
Unless you encourage some forms of outreach programmes, I know all of you do
it, but there seems to be a missing link somewhere – that’s really the point I’d
like to make today.
I’ve been inspired from the point that I was actually prevented from
doing Physics at school. I was forced into general science when I wanted to go
and od Physics. I then went to the Navy, had a certain amount of “your”
technology delivered to me either in my aircraft or in my ship, but it’s the growth
of the applications in the 21st century that means we need to
encourage more and more young people to make use of these applications and get
the word out there.
I go round schools, support a number of different schools, universities,
technology colleges, academies, private schools, as a matter of course. But its
how to get some of the applications into their programme.

One college is trying to give young people a technical education – they do it through
project learning, giving them a real life project to undertake. In that project learning basis they do about 6-8 weeks, but in that
project they are learning the maths, science, STEM and English language communication
skills that they’re going to need. At the end of that 8 week period they have
conducted some real life project, and the teachers then tell them what they’ve
learnt in terms of curriculum. Learn the application and then show they’ve
learnt some of the theory. Then back in a regular school room they suck the
information in because at last they understand why they are being taught, and
why they are learning the theory of maths and science.
The other point is the encouragement of discovery. In real life there is
a huge amount of failure in the application of what you’re doing. You try
something, follow a line or thought process, and you’ll come up against some
sort of blockage, and need to think and adapt your plan.
The message I’m getting from a large number of schools is the curriculum
tells them what the answer is, when none of yo u know the answer in real life.
The question I wish to pose: I know application of science will have far
reaching effects on logistics in terms of safety, agriculture, so many
different areas, and the UK is leading in this, so how do we add value in the
future? How do we inspire young people? I’m not here to lecture you, I’m here to
pose the question, what do we do?
I know many of you have very good opinions and ideas, very interested to
hear those opinions and ideas, as to ways we can actually achieve something. I’m
posing the question of how – I don’t know necessarily what the answers are. But
you may have ideas that I can add to the portfolio of iodeas that I am
pursuing, or make contacts where we can make a difference.
One of the interesting things I’ve just learnt from space agency, none of
the government agencies are allowed to advertise. I think its strange. A little government
outreach – a little awning at Swindon station to say ‘Home of the British space
sector’Little things, might they make a
difference as people go past on the train? Are there simple things that we are missing?
My plea is –
I do have a member of my staff here – Richard can point you in direction of my
office at Buckingham palace, if you have a good idea I should be pursuing. I’m
concerned about the future. I’m concerned we need to get young people involved
in this, and that Britain is one of best places in the world not only to do science
and engineering but also to apply them in a space environment.
I wish you all
every success in your endeavours which continue on a daily basis, you are
really important to the UK economy and the UK’s standing in so many different
areas. As I come back on a regular basis from international travels I see how
important international collaboration is in the 21st century, and we
are excellent at it. So we have already the tools at our disposal, the
knowledge at our disposal, what are we going to do about young people to take
up the cudguel once you guys are gone?
It’s a very
strange position to be in given I always considered myself a young man. Now I
find myself over 50 and talk about getting the next generation ready to take
over from ours. It’s a big difference in thinking process. But I’m very
encouraged by what I see in schools, it only requires a little drop to inspire
these young people but how do we do it?”

Further information can be found on his website.