The annual Big Bang science fair, held near Ardingly, will take place over two days for the first time next year.
Gatwick Airport has announced its plan to be headline sponsor of the Big Bang Fair South East for the second year in a row.
The event, which is part of the nationwide ‘Big Bang Near Me’ programme, will take place on June 27/28 2018 at the South of England Showground, and is the biggest single celebration of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for young people in the UK.
Gatwick has been a sponsor of the event since 2013.
The event will once again host the regional heats of the prestigious Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers of the Year competition, which is open to all 11-18 year-olds who have completed a project or activity in any area of STEM.
Members of Gatwick’s senior leadership team will join the panel of judges to help select the best projects to represent the region in the national finals.
The sponsorship forms part of Gatwick’s Community Engagement ‘Inform, Inspire, Invest’ education strategy, which also includes partnerships with other STEM initiatives, such as the FIRST Lego League robotics competition and Learn Live broadcasts.
The airport is also supporting the Government’s national ‘Year of Engineering 2018’ campaign, which is celebrating engineering and helping to raise its status as an aspirational career path among young people, their parents and teachers.
Gatwick Airport’s Community Engagement Manager, Paula Aldridge, said: “Gatwick is passionate about inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers and the Big Bang is a perfect fit for our community outreach programme. We are delighted that we have been able to work with the organisers to stretch the event to two days – this will enable an additional 5,000 school children to attend compared to last year.
“Our objective as an airport is to inform the next generation of young people about the wide range of jobs that STEM skills are needed for, and help to build a pipeline of talent for the future.”
Head of STEM Sussex, Bronagh Liddicoat, said: “I am proud to have seen the Big Bang Fair South East grow, with the support of Gatwick, from a small, one day event to a vibrant, two day celebration. It has become a benchmark in school calendars, with those who attend confirming the huge impact and enjoyment it creates.”