Students Staff

16 December 2014

Prince makes big impact at Big Bang Fair

Students and staff welcomed His Royal Highness Prince Charles to the University of Essex when he arrived to visit the Big Bang Fair being hosted at the Colchester Campus in partnership with Engineering UK.

His Royal Highness stopped to speak to the crowds as he walked to the event with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster and Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant, Lord Petre, after arriving by helicopter.

Outside the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall, His Royal Highness was presented to a number of dignitaries including:

  • High Sheriff of Essex Nicholas Charrington
  • Chairman of Essex County Council Cllr Norman Hume
  • Mayor of Colchester Borough Council Cllr John Elliott
  • Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council Adrian Pritchard
  • MP for Harwich and North Essex the Hon Bernard Jenkin MP
  • Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh
  • Executive Dean, Science and Health Professor Graham Underwood
  • CEO Engineering UK Paul Jackson

His Royal Highness then joined 1,000 young people exploring science and technology at the Big Bang Fair.

The fair, organised in partnership with Engineering UK, is showcasing the exciting opportunities offered by science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM subjects) to Year 9 and 10 students from 39 schools in Essex and Suffolk.

Professor Underwood said: “I am very proud that Prince Charles came and showed his support for the Big Bang Fair and STEM subjects at the University. His visit raised the profile of the whole event and it was great to see him mixing with our staff and with the visiting students, business and education guests. Prince Charles was able to talk to members of the University community, visiting school pupils, and staff and students from the University when he toured the Market Place demonstrations. This went extremely well, with genuine interest and excitement all around the event."

His Royal Highness actively supports manufacturing and engineering job opportunities. During the visit he toured demonstrations and activities organised by national and regional employers designed to open the students’ eyes to the possibilities and opportunities offered by science.

He then participated in a special workshop aimed at bringing businesses and head teachers together to help promote engineering careers to school pupils.

The Prince of Wales Engineering Workshop, run by The Prince's Trust, is an initiative created by His Royal Highness to raise the profile of engineering in schools, and launched earlier this year in conjunction with Engineering UK, The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Prince’s Trust, Teach First and Business in the Community.

The Workshop gave head teachers the chance to hear from regional and national businesses about the skills they need, and to discuss ways of advancing engineering in schools.

Professor Underwood said: "His Royal Highness made an excellent speech about the need to enthuse and capture the interest of young people in engineering and science, and for educators and business to work together. Talking to delegates afterwards, it was clear how important Prince Charles’ role has been in ensuring such initiatives are carried out."

Big Bang is the UK’s largest celebration of STEM subjects for young people in the UK. Professor Underwood said: “The whole day was extremely impressive, with superb stands, talks and demonstrations and flawless organisation. Credit has to be given to the our professional service and academic colleagues who worked so hard to organise the events today. There was a great buzz around our Colchester Campus, and I am sure all our visitors left with a great impression of the University as a vibrant community.”

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