71 Engineer Regiment’s ‘trick or treat’ surprise at STEM event

February 4, 2016

Army Reservists from 71 Engineer Regiment were invited to help out with workshops at Preston Lodge High School’s annual ‘Girls in Science’ event. 

The objective of the day at the East Lothian school was to enhance pupils’ awareness of science and technical career paths through hands-on activities, a series of talks and question and answer sessions.

With over 80 pupils from  local schools taking part, Reservists Sergeant Annette McChesney (45) and Sapper Lynsay Stevenson (23) sparked the girls’ interest with a series of challenging command and leadership tasks.

Sgt McChesney, from the regiment’s Cumbernauld-based 124 Field Support Squadron, explained: “The Squadron, being an engineering unit, sought to challenge pupils through tasks demanding a mixture of thinking and practical problem solving – as well as to make the activities fun.”

She continued: “I was overwhelmed by the girls’ enthusiasm and motivation; all of them demonstrated initiative beyond their years.”

Impressed with the impact the Army Reserve Unit had on the pupils, organiser, Mrs Elaine Cargill, the school’s physics and science teacher said: “The girls had a fun and informative day and many were asking to attend it again next time. They loved the Army Reserves team-building workshop and they all took part enthusiastically which was great to see. We definitely got a lot of laughter from the Engineer’s end of the hall!

“The aim of this event was to encourage more young girls into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) subjects, but it was also vital that they appreciated the importance of good communication, listening and leadership skills; from the positive debriefs heard, I am sure they all took that on board thanks to Annette and Lynsay.”

One of the tasks set by the Reservists saw a blindfolded pupil navigating through a series of obstacles, culminating in the making of a sandwich. An element of trust was incorporated as it was up to each task partner to decide whether it was made with jam, Nutella, mustard or Marmite – a trick or treat surprise!

Commanding Officer of 71 Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Ian Foulkes, said: “I am pleased that the Army Reserve contribution to the event was successful. Our female soldiers, in 71 Engineer Regiment, are highly-valued skilled engineers who have had the opportunity to train hard, alongside their male colleagues, to become experts in their own field; this was an excellent chance to be able to share their experiences with the girls as well as help stimulate their enthusiasm for maths and sciences.”

The event finished with a Q & A session with visiting guests including Annette and Lynsay answering questions on their fields of expertise.

Lynsay said: “It was good to share our engineering and leadership experiences in the Army Reserve, from a female perspective, to a young female audience, demonstrating that with a positive and enquiring mind anything is achievable.”

  • Interested in joining Lynsay in the Army Reserve? Then contact 124 Field Support Squadron, Army Reserve Centre, Glencryan Road, Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, G67 2HU. Tel: 01236 721060.

    Pupils use planks to bridge a gap.


    One pupil bites into a sandwich much to the amusement of her friends.