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Cameron uses Big Bang to push STEM careers

Prime minister David Cameron headed the long list of cabinet members, politicians and British industry leaders who joined over 70,000 school children at this year’s Big Bang Young Scientists & Engineers Fair last week.

The event was opened by business secretary Vince Cable and minister for universities and science David Willetts. It brought together over 100 science and engineering firms and organisations to highlight the excitement and value of careers in science technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Cameron toured the event with Engineering UK chief executive Paul Jackson, organiser of the Big Bang since its launch in 2009. He met many young engineers from schools across the UK.

“If we are going to succeed as a country then we need to train more scientists and more engineers,” said Cameron, adding that it was also vital to attract more women to go into these areas.

“You have got to get them while they are young,” he said. “I think that this event is a great idea. There are 70,000 kids coming here and seeing what science can do to tackle problems.”

The ICE was at the event with a stand offering a hands-on tower building challenge and plenty of information and advice about careers in civil engineering.

Consultant Atkins also featured prominently, with interactive displays highlighting its role in delivering the London 2012 Olympic Games and other activities to help students understand the value of engineering careers.

The event also saw the award of the coveted 2013 UK Young Engineer of the Year award to 17 year old Fred Turner from Halifax who impressed the judges, led by professor Bran Cox, with his home genetic testing machine. Emily O’Regan, 18, from Newcastle College was named the UK Young Scientist of the Year.

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