Findings reveal that Coastal STEMfest 2016 was a great success as it resulted in 1,968 young people engaging with STEM activities including Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Throughout February and March a series of interactive activities, demonstrations, workshops and shows were held across Coastal West Sussex, with the aim of inspiring the next generation to study STEM subjects and better understand future careers opportunities in STEM related occupations.

A Coastal STEMfest summary outlines key findings and highlights that 17 schools took part in Coastal STEMfest and 33 local employers were engaged. The summary reveals that local schools were extremely keen to engage with the project, with 70% of them taking part in different Coastal STEMfest activities or events.

The festival culminated with the Big Bang @ Butlin’s, Bognor Regis on 3rd March. This event was part of a nationwide programme and provided a unique opportunity for students to experience hands-on activities, get inspired, discuss ideas and receive careers advice. In total 750 students attended from 13 schools and 21 exhibitors took part. 95% of students said that they enjoyed the Big Bang event and 78% thought it was much better than they expected. 73% positively rated science and 43% said it was very likely they would go to university.

Overall conclusions in the report go on to explain that the interactive, fun and informative STEM activities have changed many Coastal West Sussex students’ perceptions of STEM. Before many thought STEM subjects were boring and had no idea what interesting career opportunities were on their doorsteps.

Coastal STEMfest was initiated through a local partnership of the Coastal West Sussex Partnership, West Sussex County Council, Sussex Learning Network, Tomorrow’s Engineers and STEM Sussex. The project partners plan to build on the success of Coastal STEMfest by repeating the initiative in 2017.