Some of Crawley’s top businesses are set to inspire thousands of young people to take career paths in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at the Big Bang Fair South East this weekend.
The fifth annual Big Bang Fair South East, at the South of England Showground at Ardingly on June 29, will be attended by 8,500 students and their teachers from almost 200 schools across the region. It is the culmination of Crawley STEMfest festival running in May and June.
More than 160 companies, colleges, universities and professional bodies will provide some 200 interactive workshops, shows and demonstrations aimed at giving young people an insight into STEM courses and careers.
Among the companies there will be are Gatwick Airport, Thales, Elekta, Kreston Reeves and Kier Construction, who will demonstrate the STEM-related aspects of their industry. Headline sponsors are Crawley-based CGG, the world’s biggest geosciences company.
Jo McKinney-Green, project manager, said: “Since it was first held in 2012, the Big Bang Fair South East has continued to grow, both in terms of the numbers attending and the organisations involved – an indication of its increasing importance to the young people of the region and their teachers.
“Apart from it being an fun and exciting day for everyone involved, the signs are that since 2012 there has been an increase in the number of students studying STEM subjects to A-level, and we believe that the hands-on approach of the Big Bang and other events has been a major contributory factor.”
Last year the Big Bang Fair was described by a Hazelwick student as ‘one of the most interesting education events I have ever been to’.
This year’s show is set to be even bigger and better.
The students, aged between nine and 19, can also drive a digger, ride a Segway, get up close and personal with snakes and an eagle, and interact with robots. For more information go to www.crawleystemfest.co.uk
In addition, young people will demonstrate projects they have entered in the Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Competition, with the best entries going on to represent the region in next year’s national finals.