Published: 10th November 2023
In a remarkable educational initiative, close to 800 year five and six students hailing from primary schools across the Isle of Man gathered at the prestigious Villa Marina this October. The occasion was the much-anticipated STEMfest 2023, an event aimed at nurturing students' curiosity about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers.
The Villa Marina was transformed into a captivating learning hub, featuring three immersive zones dedicated to Engineering & Construction, Science, and Technology & Maths. Over 30 on-island companies and organisations set up interactive exhibits, providing students with hands-on experiences that showcased how STEM principles are applied in various industries. Vividly illustrating the practical relevance of their classroom learning to real-world scenarios.
The young participants were engaged in diverse activities, from bridge construction and coding robots to recording TV shows, grading the size of scallops, building boats, and even driving diggers in a life-size simulator. They gained valuable insights into how fibre optic cables enable their favourite video games to function, offering something for every curious young mind.
The Department for Enterprise has unveiled a video showcasing the highlights of STEMfest 2023, providing a sneak peek into the day's events.
Tim Johnston MHK, Minister for Enterprise emphasised the significance of STEMfest for primary school children, stating:
‘I think STEMfest is a real benefit to our primary school children. As it's really important that we get them engaged at a very early age in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths and get them to understand about the exciting jobs and opportunities there are for them in the future. In essence, STEMfest and similar initiatives play a pivotal role in shaping the future by empowering the next generation with the knowledge, enthusiasm, and inspiration needed to thrive in the dynamic world of STEM.’
Max Kelly, Executive Headteacher at Dhoon, Laxey and Willaston Schools commented:
‘The world of STEM isn't just about formulas and codes—it's where imagination meets reality to shape the future. The event was more than just an exploration—it was an invitation to dream and create. The hands-on, interactive sessions fuelled the innate curiosity of our young learners.
It was heart-warming to see the excitement bubbling within not just our boys, but importantly our girls too, who embraced the experience with enthusiasm and wonder. The inclusive and welcoming atmosphere encouraged every child to dive head-first into the world of innovation. It was a playground where ideas soared, and every question led to a new discovery.
The ripple effect of STEM sessions will echo through our classrooms, igniting a love for learning that's boundless and inclusive. Here's to many more engaging and eye-opening experiences that empower our future leaders, regardless of gender, to reach for the stars!’
Sarah Ennett, Smart Island & Digital Skills Manager for Digital Isle of Man commented:
‘I want all our pupils to have the passion and confidence to keep exploring STEM subjects, and consequently benefit from the earnings and opportunities that these sectors bring. It is vital that opportunities like these are repeated regularly and made accessible to all our young people.
I am grateful to the many institutions and companies that were involved in putting this event together and especially to our exhibitors for volunteering their time and resources to making this an event that the students will remember.’
Debbie Reeve, Chief Officer, Construction Isle of Man, an exhibitor in the Engineering & Construction zone at STEMfest 2023, said:
‘We eagerly returned to exhibit at STEMfest this year, with the aim of demonstrating to the students the exciting possibilities within the field of construction and the career opportunities it presents. It's a compelling career path, and the Isle of Man greatly relies on the emergence of future talent in this sector.’
The event was organised by the Department for Enterprise with support from the Awareness of Careers in Engineering Steering Group, Construction Isle of Man, members of STEM organisations and the Department of Education, Sport & Culture.
If your company or school would like to participate in next year’s STEMfest please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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