Second wave of Coastal STEMfest announced

8 September 2016

STEMfest, a two month-long celebration of science and engineering for young people in West Sussex has proved so popular that it will be staged again in 2017.

“There has been such positive feedback – from schools and their students and from the employers involved – that we have had no hesitation in beginning the planning for a similar event in 2017,” said STEM Sussex Project Manager Jo McKinney-Green.

Coastal STEMfest provides free events and activities to West Sussex secondary school children to inspire them to study STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). It also provides opportunities for students to meet local employers and receive advice about pursuing STEM careers.

Seventeen local schools took part in this year’s festival and nearly two thousand students participated in one of the many events and activities coordinated by STEM Sussex. These ranged from a careers fair at Worthing Pavilion, hands-on workshops held in schools, careers talks from local employees and university taster days. The festival culminated in the Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis (part of the nationwide Big Bang Near Me programme).

This lively event was attended by more than 750 students and their teachers. 95% of those surveyed “really enjoyed themselves” and 73% “felt positive” about science. Interactive exhibition stands were provided by local businesses, colleges and national organisations, including Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, GSK, Inpress Plastics, Northbrook College, the National Physical Laboratory and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The Science Museum performed the “most disgusting show in the world” which explained the human digestive system and challenged students to try nutritious dried insects to discover if they make tasty snacks!

Catherine Jones, from the science department at the Academy, Selsey said, “STEMfest… was absolutely brilliant. The students have nothing bad to say about it at all, they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves!”

Coastal STEMfest events gave students a unique insight into the courses and careers open to them locally, and helped local employers forge links with schools and colleges. The partners that fund and deliver the festival (Coastal West Sussex, Coast to Capital LEP, Tomorrow’s Engineers, STEM Sussex, the Sussex Learning Network and West Sussex County) are hopeful these activities will attract students to STEM apprenticeships and jobs, therefore reducing the local STEM skills gap.

STEM Sussex has started organising the activities for next year’s Coastal STEMfest. If your school or business is interested in taking part in February and March 2017 please contact: coastalstemfest@brighton.ac.uk or 01273 644178.

Schools can book events at www.coastalstemfest.co.uk.

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Coastal STEMFest