Comment: The Big Bang is back!

EngineeringUK CEO Dr Hilary Leevers encourages the engineering community to get involved in the Big Bang.

This month we celebrate National Careers Week from 7 to 12 March which is all about empowering positive change through careers education. The week provides a focus for careers guidance activity to support young people leaving education. It is so important to inspire young people about the careers and opportunities that are out there for them. It’s therefore also a great time for me to share with you that the Big Bang Fair is returning!

After a 2 year hiatus, the UK’s biggest celebration of STEM for young people is back. I am so happy that we will have the chance to excite young people with STEM in person once more and, most importantly, help them understand how they can translate this inspiration into fulfilling careers. We are looking for organisations and volunteers to join us from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 June 2022 at The NEC in Birmingham and help create an incredible experience for young people.

The Big Bang
Visitors to the 2019 Big Bang fair, the last time the physical event was held

The global pandemic disrupted delivery of the Fair over the past 2 years and we delivered digitally in 2020 and 2021. We plan to use this experience to put on a Big Bang Digital accompaniment to the face-to-face Fair this year. This will extend our reach and we’re also interested to compare how in-person and online delivery engages different students in different ways, to inform our future plans.

The Fair will be packed with interactive exhibits and, very importantly, multiple opportunities for 11 to 14 year-olds to talk with those working in STEM – we know that these encounters can be really impactful. We’ll be organising the showfloor around the 3 themes of environment and sustainability, healthcare and wellbeing, and new frontiers, reflecting young people’s interest points while allowing for a wide range of sectors and careers to be showcased.

A high point of The Fair will be the announcement of the winners of the 2022 Big Bang Competition for 11 to 19 year olds. It is all about inspiring inquisitive minds to think big, challenge themselves and create solutions. From climate change and healthcare discoveries to aerospace advancements and building construction, their projects will be showcased at The Fair. The Competition offers a fantastic opportunity for young people to win amazing prizes in recognition for their hard work and for them to inspire each other. I am very appreciative that we are working with companies and organisations from across industry to offer some special awards, including:


  • Siemens Digital Decarbonisation Award










Would you like to get involved in the Big Bang 2022? We still have space for organisations to join the exhibitors on the showfloor. You will have the chance to speak to young people about the work you are doing to contribute to STEM advancements and achieve net zero. It’s a great opportunity to reach the next generation and influence how they see their future.

We are also looking for sponsors for: Competition prizes, the smaller scale Big Bang at School fairs, and travel bursaries for schools with high proportions of young people from groups underrepresented in the STEM and engineering workforce. If you are interested in helping, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Whether or not your company is involved, you can always join in as a volunteer. If you are passionate about your role in STEM and keen to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, then why wouldn’t you? Volunteers play a vital role at the Big Bang Fair, from facilitating activities to being guest speakers and judging student projects. Not only will you get to meet young people, but you will also get the chance to see the cutting-edge presentations and exhibits from UK and global STEM companies.

I also love The Fair for that feeling of collective effort across the STEM and engineering community as we work together to build our future workforce. At the risk of sounding a little trite, I suspect that The Fair is as inspiring for those putting it on as it is for the young people themselves, as we directly connect with students and learn more about their aspirations and achievements. That’s certainly my experience. I hope to see you there!

The Big Bang runs from Wednesday 22 to Friday 24 June 2022 at The NEC in Birmingham