Minister�for�Universities and Science David Willetts at the Big Bang Fair @ Parliament event

Parliament experiences a Big Bang before bonfire night

Pupils and businesses from across the UK brought a slice of The Big Bang Fair to Parliament today.

Kicking off Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, which launched this morning, the event gave politicians, policy-makers and the business community the chance to meet award-winning young scientists and engineers, and get a  taste The Big Bang Fair – Europe’s largest science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) event for young people.

Hosted by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee and led by EngineeringUK, the fair saw winners of the regional stage of the National Science + Engineering Competition showcase a range of projects to guests, including their constituency MPs.

Pupils’ projects tackled issues from global problems, such as bee sustainability and water purification in third world countries to technological innovations, including a transporter robot and an interactive bin.

Finalists are competing for the titles of UK Young Scientist of the Year and UK Young Engineer of the Year, which will be awarded  at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair in Birmingham in March next year.

Paul Jackson, chief executive of Engineering UK, which leads The Big Bang Fair, said: “We’re delighted to bring The Big Bang to Parliament today as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week.

“The UK needs more engineers and, to achieve this vital aim, we must excite young people about the range of great careers that science, technology, engineering and maths subjects can lead to. That’s what The Big Bang and Tomorrow’s Engineers is all about and why Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is such a valuable initiative.”

Alongside the engineers of the future, some of the UK’s leading engineering business and industry, BAE Systems, Balfour Beatty, Jaguar Land Rover and UTC Aerospace Systems, were there to help demonstrate the variety of careers that studying STEM subjects can lead to.

Head of Physics at Sutton Grammar School, Jamie Costello, said: “The pupils have thoroughly enjoyed today. It’s been exciting and very motivating for them to have the opportunity to discuss their projects with Members of Parliament and business role models. The Big Bang adds a hands-on, practical element to what they learn in class, which is so important when it comes to influencing their career aspirations.”  

Attending the event, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts, said: “Despite an increase in engineering Apprenticeship starts in recent years and rising numbers of students taking GCSE triple science, we have to take action both in government and across industry to attract more young people, especially girls, into engineering careers.

“We should show parents and teachers that engineering is an aspiration career choice. That is the aim of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, and today's Big Bang event has brought engineering to life for these young people and is great start to this week.”  

Next year’s Big Bang Fair takes place on 13-16 March 2014 at The NEC, Birmingham. Visit the Big Bang Fair website for more information.

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