This week the Coastal West Sussex Partnership joined senior members of industry and other stakeholders, to discuss Coastal STEMfest which will take place during February 2016. We all gathered at The Body Shop in Littlehampton and looked at ways that employers could support schools to inspire young people about STEM, and encourage them to consider careers in and with STEM. We are also inviting businesses across Coastal West Sussex to become a part of the Coastal STEMfest which will culminate in the Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis on 3rd March 2016.
We all know that innovations in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) have a huge impact on our daily lives. But worryingly, when asked last year, only half of 18-24 year olds could cite the engineering development in the last 50 years that had the most impact on their lives.
Sarah Davenport, Regional Engagement Manager for EngineeringUK, kicked off the meeting and she explained why events like Coastal STEMfest so vital. Sarah expressed how much we need more engineers and why we should aim to double the number of engineering apprentices and graduates entering the industry. Local employers in Coastal West Sussex will tackle this problem head on by engaging with schools during Coastal STEMfest – whether that’s through careers talks, site visits or attending an event, such as the Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis.
Kirk Brown, Chair of the Coastal West Sussex Partnership and Site Director for GSK Worthing, went on to add: “Coastal STEMfest aims to help improve workforce skills by bringing together local partners, and connecting employers and schools. The festival will provide a great platform to address some key issues and concerns for industry and enterprise in the local area.”
Mike Punter, Managing Director from local company, Parafix, discussed the impact and reward of interacting with schools. He highlighted the vital need to challenge gender stereotypes and encourage women into STEM roles, and spoke of the benefits of apprenticeships.
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