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Press release

National Science and Engineering Week campaign to plug the technical skills gap needs 1:1 success ratio

15 March 2012


The Big Bang Fair starts today as part of the national strategy to tackle the lack of young people pursuing careers in science and engineering.  

2.2 million people are needed by industry to enter Science and Engineering careers over the next five years, but in terms of engineering the historical trend is that only 125,000 will do so.

Approximately thirty thousand young people are expected to attend The Big Bang Fair over the next three days. The UK economy needs all of them and many more to fill the technical skills gap by pursuing relevant degrees and then going into science and technology careers.

The President of Europe’s largest professional engineering group, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Dr Mike Short said, “We have supported this fair for three years now and it goes from strength to strength. It is vital that experimentation here leads to ideas being turned into innovation. Learning skills in science and technology now will help develop skills in engineering and technology for tomorrow, and an appetite for new worlds of innovation. Furthermore, the employability prospects in engineering provide a stronger career platform than many other subjects, and take students en route to play their part in this digital century.”

The sell-out Big Bang Fair is part of National Science and Engineering Week. It is the nation's largest grassroots celebration of the sciences, engineering and technology.

Gareth James, Head of Education at the IET  said, “The Big Bang Fair is the ideal opportunity for young people, their families and teachers to see a broad selection of the many organisations involved in engineering, scientific research and technological development in the UK and beyond. Fun, excitement, intrigue and creativity are at the heart of the Big Bang Fair but so is guidance on careers. The event gives attendees the chance to meet some of the big science and engineering employers, to discover more about what they do and the challenging and rewarding careers they have on offer.” 

The IET undertakes a range of other initiatives to boost the number of young people pursuing STEM careers, such as the Faraday Challenge Day for schools, awards and scholarships for students, Flipside magazine, and much more.

Media Enquiries to:

Katie Stanton
Communications Executive

Tel: +44(0)1438 765608
Mob: +44(0)7738 713867
Email: kstanton@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

 The Institution of Engineering and Technology is Europe’s largest body of professional engineers, with over 150,000 members in 127 countries, and is an official sponsor of the Big Bang Fair.

 The Big Bang Fair is taking place at the NEC and is free.

 The engineering sector generates turnover of around £1.1 trillion which is a quarter of all turnover in the UK.

 Interviews with Dr Mike Short, Gareth James and others can be arranged.

 25,000 engineering graduates per year, according to the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation