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Whitehaven STEM Festival

Whitehaven STEM Festival

Author: Luke Richardson

Whilst latest figures show a slight improvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) based subjects, the Government, large corporations and analysts still predict a shortage of skills in the future. For our business to continue to meet the needs of our customers, we need to do something about the decline in STEM subjects.

In June we hosted a STEM Festival on the eve of the Whitehaven Festival. Our target audience consisted of year 6 and 7’s from schools across West Cumbria and a list of potential STEM celebrities (including Steve Mould from The One Show, Blue Peter and Britain’s Brightest).

We decided to join forces and organise what was eventually titled the 'Whitehaven STEM Festival'. Costain played host to a 200 seat lecture theatre and invited Steve Mould as the guest speaker. We managed to secure the support of the Royal Navy and Tall Ships (visiting for the festival weekend).

We enlisted Steve Mould’s support for someone who a) had the experience of standing up and addressing 200 school children, b) could capture their imaginations and c) would give them the inspiration to think about a STEM career.

The reality is we all have a preconception of what people look like based on their job. Those preconceptions may be one of the reasons why children aren’t thinking of STEM careers. They might realise they could be a Civil Engineer by the time they are 24!

Time will only tell how successful we were in capturing the imaginations of 900 children but if the feedback of the children, teachers, volunteers and head teachers is anything to go by, the event will certainly see a couple more entrants into STEM subjects/careers in the future.

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*Photo courtesy of the Whitehaven News