Chris Surplice, Senior Engineer from Boulting Technology was one of the many volunteers at the Big Bang UK Young scientists and engineers Fair at the NEC, Birmingham between March 11th and 15th 2015.
Chris is a STEM ambassador (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths network) for an organisation whose role it is to encourage our young people to choose careers in these areas. This government backed initiative is aimed at young people from 7-19 and provides a national network of resource to enable young people of all backgrounds and abilities to meet inspiring role models and understand real world applications of STEM subjects. In addition it provides opportunities for young people to experience hands-on STEM activities that can motivate, inspire and bring learning and career options to life.
The STEM ambassador role requires volunteers to commit to a minimum of one event a year, but volunteers can do as much or as little as they want to. Chris explains what he gets out of it "This is my first year as an ambassador for STEM and it's great to be able to give something back. I'm enthusiastic about engineering and science, and the role so far has been very rewarding. It's a privilege to see the moment of inspiration on a young person's face. In my role I am helping inspire people to get involved with today's real life engineering challenges, clean energy production, faster communications technologies or more versatile materials. Specifically I want young people to see physics for what it is and not be scared of it, or avoid it because they think it doesn't apply to them and is too hard"
The CBI skills survey of 2013 made for some sobering reading with skills shortage in the STEM subjects. With shortages of STEM-qualified technicians and graduates widespread among firms in the engineering, hi-tech/IT and science areas, Boulting Technology is delighted to support Chris in his ambassador role.
"We have had lots of success bringing youngsters through the business with apprenticeships, graduate training schemes and our ‘Grow your own talent' scheme. This is another area we are able to support the encouragement of young people into engineering from which we all can benefit" explains Ian Oliver, Director of Boulting Technology's Process Control business in Stafford.
The Big Bang encouraged a hands on approach. "An enquiring mind starts early and Youngsters with natural curiosity visited the many interactive stands at the fair. There was lots of things to see and do in the many different themed zones, and I really enjoyed building toothbrush buzzy bugs with the young delegates, the homemade Hexbugs were a great success!" said Chris.
The Big Bang was the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and math's for young people in the UK. Next year's Big Bang Fair will take place 16-19 March 2016 at the NEC, Birmingham.