Parents Influence in Careers Could Stem Science and Engineering Recovery

The Big Bang Young scientists and Engineers fair kicks off the National Science and Engineering week. Run in association with STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) and the National Science Learning centres, this now annual event will be held Manchester Central Convention Complex from 11-13th March 2010. Key day for parents and children is Saturday 13th March. To find out more Keen2learn spoke to the event director Jeremy Buckle.

As the UK emerges from recession increased emphasis is being placed on our future commercial structure that will make us more secure in future years. If the normal trend continues to follow the “biblical cycle” we are due another recession in seven years. By then hopefully we will have re-engineered ourselves and built on our unique strengths to produce wealth, security and reduced risk for the UK.  One key area open to substantial development lies in science and engineering where British innovation is legendary. This is the key objective of the Big Bang.

Jeremy Buckle hails from Australia and noticed a marked difference with the UK in the educational emphasis placed on science and engineering. Although we lack the prominence and take up in these subjects in our National Curriculum, British children can still demonstrate innovation brilliance from science games which can be seen in the student projects to be judged at Big Bang. This ability needs to be nurtured in all children. It holds huge potential for future entrepreneurship, niche manufacturing and areas of excellence that can put Britain back on the evolving global map. The primary object of the Big Bang is to encourage children to pursue qualifications and a career in science and engineering and  is expected to attract around 15,000 students.

Sir Anthony Cleaver, Chairman of Engineering UK, which leads The Big Bang, said: “Having leading companies from life sciences, aerospace, energy and electrical engineering, involved in The Big Bang allows us to show young people just some of the fantastic careers that are possible with a background in science, technology, engineering and maths. The participation of AstraZeneca, BAE Systems, Shell and Siemens  – some of the UK’s biggest employers of scientists and engineers in the UK – makes The Big Bang even more of an appealing event for students, teachers and parents who want to see science in action, outside the classroom.”

I have to reveal a passion for engineering. It has been my lifeblood, providing a career that held many trials and tribulations but above all gave a constant buzz and sense of achievement; be it the simple repair, innovation or break through. My greatest accolade came when someone described me as the ideal guy to have on a dessert island. I’ve always preferred to believe this was a compliment rather than a request to go disappear. Science and Engineering is full of the practicalities of life.

The Royal Institution will reprise a highlighted version of its famous televised Christmas Lectures, which this year investigates the ‘Three Hundred Million Year War’ between plants and animals.  The show seeks to investigate the ways in which plants and animals have both clashed and aided each other over the millennia.  Featuring cutting-edge science, explosions and live animals, this is the first time that the full Christmas Lectures experience has been held outside the famous Faraday Lecture Theatre in the UK.

Based on Jeremy Buckle’s considerable past experience, Big Bang has been designed as a theme park divided into four principle zones with masses of attractions for children, parents and teachers. The choice of Manchester as the location is no accident. Key centres of excellence in The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), all the regional technology universities, along with STEM and National Science Learning Centre’s will be present. Linked to the central information hub where teachers’ master classes in science will be held, the four zones each promote a different STEM theme surrounded by associated attractions all forming a link to National science opportunities and plenty of hands-on activities.

  1. Body talk- Mind and body health, development, sports and fitness
  2. Power up – How we use energy, renewable energy, how we harness energy
  3. Go Global – Global opportunities for Science and Engineering
  4. X Factor – New technology in STEM applications

Parents are critical in driving careers forward in STEM activities. The Big Bang fair is a fantastic chance to allow parents and children see opportunities that are crucial for the future success of Britain. Do I sound biased? You bet, because in my working like no day was ever the same. I travelled the world as science and engineering have global applications and phenomenal scope for development.  Now can you think of any other career that holds this potential? And if you think we lack this vital spark just get along on the 13th March to see the finals of the National Science and Engineering Competitions. You will be absolutely astounded at the ingenuity, innovation and skill these children are demonstrating.  We need to encourage and elevate careers in this essential activity. We could start by giving qualified Engineers similar recognition to Scientists and add the prefix of Eng. in similar fashion to Dr. before their name – as they do in Germany. These children are definitely our future.

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