RS Components (RS) the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), the global multi-channel provider of industrial and electronic products and solutions, welcomed the Mayor of Corby, Councilor Ray Beeby, and more than 1,300 people - including 500 local school children - over three days when it held its inaugural STEMFEST event at its UK headquarters in Corby last month.

Attendees, from local primary schools including Beanfield, Our Lady’s and Rockingham, and secondary schools including Corby Business Academy, Brooke Weston Academy and John Ferneley College, were treated to a medley of technology workshops and activities. The event was supported by 150 RS STEM ambassadors giving 1,200 volunteer hours, who were joined by external ambassadors from companies including national Rail, Cummins and Nationwide. The RS Titan II truck was also present, which features some of the latest technology used in industry today.

STEMFEST is part of RS’ commitment to inspire the next generation of engineers and technologists, by raising awareness of STEM subjects in a dynamic and engaging way. STEMFEST is planned to feature in the RS annual calendar each year, providing an opportunity to showcase and demonstrate what a career in engineering and technology can offer.

Some of the technologies students and visitors were able to get their hands on included 3D printing, code robotics and DrillArt, while workshops on understanding the mind of hackers and how to design a website offered further insight into the ever growing technological world.

Mayor of Corby, Councilor Ray Beeby, commented: “It was great to see such a wide variety of activities designed to inspire and educate – and I don’t think it was just the school children who were left feeling inspired! Engineering and technology are such important elements in our world and our future, and addressing the low uptake of STEM subjects now is an applaudable mission, in order to secure that future. RS held a fantastic event that was enjoyed by all, and I’m sure it’ll be a much-anticipated feature in the local yearly calendar.”

Laura Giddings, STEM Education Manager, RS Northern Europe, added: “We were absolutely thrilled that our very first STEMFEST was so well attended and received. Securing a pipeline of talent to safeguard our future infrastructure, by addressing the major skills shortage in engineering and lack of STEM subjects uptake, is an urgent mission – particularly given the dwindling numbers of young people pursuing STEM subjects beyond GCSE.

“We are dedicated to inspiring the next generation of young people into STEM careers, and this latest initiative has strengthened that commitment and enabled us to further engage with tomorrow’s engineers.”

Since its launch in 2017, the Titan II truck has had more than 35,000 under 18’s on board. At events where Titan II has not been present, RS, together with its educational partners, has engaged with 40,000 young people through the delivery of workshops and support of STEM events throughout 2018.

The RS Components STEM Ambassador count is now at 150, from just 40 in April 2018, and RS’ STEM Impact report released this year highlighted a momentous shift in improving perceptions surrounding engineering: 51 per cent of 11-16 year-olds would now consider a career in engineering, 96 per cent of teachers would recommend it as a career option to their pupils, and the 2015/2016 academic year saw a five per cent growth in engineering student applications at Higher Education level.