Young scientists from schools across Northern Ireland made a bee-line for Ballymena’s Braid Centre recently to catch the ‘Sentinus Big Bang’ exhibition.
The event gave them the chance to showcase their solutions for real world business problems, developed in partnership with a range of local businesses.
Students came together to showcase their innovative projects in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Incorporating the Sentinus Team R&D and STEM Design Challenge programmes, the exhibition of innovative and exciting project work was the result of student research carried out alongside industry partners to deliver state-of-the-art solutions to current real-world problems the businesses currently face.
They included an interactive model to allow NIE to demonstrate their role in the distribution of electricity, an automated guided vehicle for Wrightbus and a pressure sensor calibrator for electrical engineering company Camlin.
Sentinus is an educational charity working with schools and colleges across Northern Ireland to deliver programmes that promote engagement in STEM and currently support the development of over 50,000 young people a year by enhancing their life skills.
On the day projects were presented to and assessed by a panel of industry experts, with the science fair acting as a warm up to the ‘Young Innovators’ event in June and helping to promote interest and engagement in STEM subjects.
Bill Connor, Sentinus CEO, said: “We were delighted to host another successful Big Bang Fair and the event really brings these STEM subjects to life for the pupils. We aim to provide as many opportunities as possible for young people to extend their learning beyond the classroom and we hope the exhibits and activities will encourage people of all ages and develop their interest. Ensuring school children are equipped with adequate knowledge of careers in STEM and entrusting them with solving STEM focused problems will inspire and prepare pupils for a future career.”
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid said: “This was a superb event which brought vital STEM subjects to life for the young people involved. All the exhibits were brilliantly presented and educated the pupils and students in fun and exciting ways. The skills which they learn in science and technology – problem solving, creative thinking, communication, team work, analytical skills – are sought after by all employers, so the STEM subjects give young people a really good basis to build a career on. The young people had a brilliant time and I am in no doubt they left Ballymena having been inspired by many of the events and exhibitions. I want to thank all of those involved in delivering what was such a forward-looking exhibition.”
The event, supported by the Department of Education and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council was part of the UK wide ‘Big Bang Near Me’ programme – the largest celebration of STEM for young people in the UK. With events taking place throughout the UK, the aim is to celebrate the world of science and show young people just how exciting a career in STEM can be.