Thousands of students attend South East science fair, sponsored by Gatwick


  • Gatwick Airport was headline sponsor of Big Bang Fair South East for the first time
  • Record number of students from 200 schools attended this year’s event
  • Airport staff join judging panel to help select Big Bang UK award winners 

Gatwick Airport was headline sponsor of the sixth annual Big Bang Fair South East as a record number of more than 9,000 students attended the event to learn about the career opportunities available to them through studying science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

The airport has been a sponsor of the South East event since 2013, which is part of the nationwide ‘Big Bang Near Me’ programme – the biggest single celebration of STEM for young people in the UK.

A dedicated ‘Gatwick zone’ at the event offered more than 15 interactive airport-related activities, supported by a range of airport teams, including Airfield, Terminals and Engineering and various partner organisations including the Met Office.

Students and teachers from almost 200 schools across the region attended the event, which took place at the South of England Showground, Ardingly. Also in attendance were education providers including the Universities of Chichester, Brighton and Reading, as well as Northbrook, Plumpton and Central Sussex College.

The event hosted 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. 

As headline sponsor, members of Gatwick’s senior leadership team joined the panel of judges to help select the best projects to represent the region in the national finals in Birmingham in March 2018.The airport also awarded the accolades of South East Young Scientist and Young Engineer of the Year. 

Gatwick’s Community Engagement Manager, Paula Aldridge, said:

“Gatwick was proud to be headline sponsor of this year’s Big Bang Fair in the South East and was pleased to see such a good turn out from schools across the region.    

Our objective is to inform the next generation of young people about the wide range of applications of STEM skills at the airport and inspire them to choose STEM subjects – helping to build a pipeline of talent for the future.” 

STEM Sussex Marketing Manager, Michelle Galley, said:

“We are really pleased with how this year’s event has gone and would like to thank all the schools and students for getting involved. The whole day was hands-on and interactive and shone the spotlight on a variety of STEM careers and courses on offer. It’s vibrant, noisy and engaging and its impact extends far beyond a single day.” 


About London Gatwick

Gatwick Airport is the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world. It serves more than 228 destinations in 74 countries for 45 million passengers a year on short and long-haul point-to-point services. It is also a major economic driver for the UK contributing £5.3 billion to national GDP and generating 85,000 jobs nationally, with around 24,000 on the wider airport campus alone. The airport is south of Central London with excellent public transport links, including the Gatwick Express, and is part of the Oyster contactless payment network. Gatwick Airport is owned by a group of international investment funds, of which Global Infrastructure Partners is the largest shareholder.

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