Festival works to STEM West Sussex high-tech skills gap

Bohunt School Worthing SUS-150624-163135001

Bohunt School Worthing SUS-150624-163135001

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A science festival to inspire the next generation and help bridge the county’s high-tech skills gap will be launched in Worthing.

The first event in the Coastal STEMfest will be the Your Future careers day, which will be held at the Pavilion Theatre on Thursday (February 11).

STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering and maths, is an area of study local businesses have found to be lacking in the county’s school-leavers. As a result, they have had to look elsewhere when recruiting – a problem business leaders and the county council intend to rectify.

Your Future, organised in conjunction with Sussex Chamber of Commerce, will enable businesses and further and higher education institutions to encourage students aged 14+ to think about careers in STEM and describe some of the options open to them.

Kirk Brown, vice-president of GlaxoSmithKline Worthing and chairman of the Coastal West Sussex Partnership, said: “Addressing the STEM skills gap has been identified as a real priority for businesses in West Sussex. We believe Coastal STEMfest will really fire young people’s curiosity.”

Among the other STEMfest events will be university taster days, where secondary school students will be able to work in the laboratories of the University of Sussex’s department of physics and astronomy or the University of Brighton’s school of pharmacy and biomolecular sciences.

Bohunt students work in one of the STEM curriculum lessons SUS-150316-082220001

Bohunt students work in one of the STEM curriculum lessons SUS-150316-082220001

Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “Encouraging young people to explore and enjoy science, technology and maths is just what is needed to help close the skills gap, so our business have a wealth of home-grown talent to recruit and train.”

STEMfest will end with the Big Bang@Butlin’s, Bognor Regis, on March 3. The main regional celebration, the Big Bang Fair South East, will be held at the South of England Showground on June 29.

To find out more, log on to www.coastalstemfest.co.uk.

Pictured are youngsters from Bohunt School taking part in last year’s STEMfest.

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