Coordinated by STEM Sussex

Coastal science fair sets the course to STEM careers

Date: January 25, 2017

Coastal science fair sets the course to STEM careers

West Sussex scientists, engineers and inventors of the future will get a unique insight into the courses and careers available to them locally at a special festival in the spring.

Coastal STEMfest 2017, whose theme is “setting the course for careers in STEM,” will be held during February and March and is a celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for schools and colleges across Coastal West Sussex. It will also help local businesses forge links with schools and colleges.

The project is in its second year and the organising partners are aiming to encourage as many Coastal West Sussex schools as possible to get involved and make the most of the free events programme. Events are designed to be both exciting and informative, engaging students and helping them realise that STEM subjects are far from boring.

All events are interactive and hands-on, and will connect students with local employers and staff from colleges and universities, hopefully encouraging young people to consider planning a future in STEM.

Organisers are working closely with senior staff in schools, further education and local authorities with the aim of helping to reduce the local STEM skills gap. They are also encouraging schools to involve parents by holding STEM evenings which include a fun STEM activity.

Coastal STEMfest 2017 will culminate with the Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis science fair, held during National Science Week on 14th March and is an opportunity for young people and their teachers to enjoy hands-on activities, discuss ideas and get advice from professionals. Students who attend will be able to collect information and discuss it later with their parents.

More than 20 organisations have already signed up to provide interactive workshops and shows, including the National Physical Laboratory, GSK and Ricardo, while outdoor activities will include Kingston University’s Lab in a Lorry, Southern Water’s Campaign Bus and Northbrook College motorsports engineering students and their car.

Last year’s Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis was attended by 750 secondary school students and their teachers, while over 2,000 students from 17 schools took part in other STEM activities during Coastal STEMfest. Thirty employers provided activities.

“Addressing the STEM skills gap has been identified as a real priority for businesses in West Sussex,” said Caroline Wood, of the Coastal West Sussex Partnership. “Local businesses are committed to doing more to enthuse young people to study STEM subjects, and we believe Coastal STEMfest 2017 will fire young people’s curiosity”.

“It is also an opportunity for employers to engage with their potential future workforce by providing activities that make STEM subjects relevant to local industries. Feedback from last year’s Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis showed that three-quarters of students felt more positive about science after attending.”

Coastal STEMfest 2017 is being organised by STEM Sussex, the not-for-profit outreach department of the University of Brighton. It is based on the success of Crawley STEMfest, an annual event in schools and colleges during May and June that was first held in 2012.

Supporters of the festival include Coastal West Sussex Partnership, Coast to Capital LEP, Tomorrow’s Engineers, Sussex Learning Network, Arun District Council, Chichester District Council, Adur and Worthing Business Partnership and West Sussex County Council.

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  • Coastal West Sussex.
  • Coast 2 Capital.
  • STEM Sussex
  • Tomorrows Engineers.

  • Sussex Learning Network.
  • Adur and Worthing Business Partnership.
  • Arun District Council.
  • West Sussex County Council.
  • Chichester District Council.