On March 13th -16th over 80,000 students descended on the NEC Birmingham to be part of the biggest STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) celebration in the UK – the Big Bang Fair! The Big Bang Fair brought together both the next generation of aspiring STEM students and the companies and universities who are leading the way in these fields.
We at Dassault Systèmes are big believers in encouraging students to pursue STEM careers. Therefore, the Big Bang Fair was the perfect medium for us to show children of all ages why Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths can result in an incredible career path.
The Dassault Systèmes Big Bang Fair project was led by our graduates, who took up the challenge of organizing our presence at the event. Following many brainstorming sessions, the team decided to focus on an aspect of our company, which we pride ourselves on, sustainability. In 2018, Corporate Knights named Dassault Systemes as the world’s most sustainable company. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and The Big Bang Fair was no different. Our stand was designed to become a unique 3DEXPERIENCE Playground, which was based on the Ocean Cleanup Project.
Our roots in the ocean cleanup came from a project in collaboration with Dutch student Boyan Slat who was just 17 years old when he began working on the Ocean Cleanup Project, designed with the help of our SOLIDWORKS technology. We provided Boyan with the initial licenses of SOLIDWORKS products for CAD, simulation and visualisation, online training, design guidance and more for the floater design. Through the SOLIDWORKS for Entrepreneur Program. The Ocean Cleanup Project is now a non-profit organization, developing advanced technologies to, once and for all, rid the world’s oceans of plastic.
However, one person alone can’t make the difference that is needed to save our oceans. This must become part of everyone’s mentality and it has to happen fast. Every day, approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into our oceans. There may now be around 5.25 trillion macro and microplastic pieces floating in the open ocean, weighing up to 269,000 tonnes. Plastics consistently make up 60 to 90 percent of all marine debris studied. Approximately 5,000 items of marine plastic pollution have been found per mile of beach in the UK. Recent studies have revealed marine plastic pollution in 100% of marine turtles, 59% of whales, 36% of seals and 40% of seabird species examined. 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds are killed by marine plastic pollution annually.
To inspire the #WorkForceOfTheFuture to contribute their efforts to the ocean cleanup, we designed an interactive ‘Ocean Cleanup Activity’ where teams had to compete against each other using various instruments to clear our plastic tank of water of the plastic and other debris that it contained. The winner of each round was added to our leadership board.
Many of the young people who attended were unaware of the true reality of just how much plastic and rubbish is contaminating our oceans. While the Ocean Cleanup activity added a fun, competitive aspect, it drew their attention to the reality of the condition of our seas, rivers and oceans today.
We showed the attendees at the stand how their projects can be transformed from an idea, into something that can actually make a difference in the world. We implored them to believe in their ideas because, the fact is, we believe in them. We set up a Dream Wall on our stand where visitors could write their ideas for a sustainable future and our staff spoke to them about how these ideas could be made possible through Dassault Systemes technology. The Dream Wall was a huge success with over 1,500 ideas written each day. We know our future is in safe hands thanks to these wonderful, talented next generation!
Technology is rapidly advancing every day. The Cyber Generation now live in a world where virtual and real collide using our technologies. Our presence at the Big Bang Fair allowed us to encourage these tech savvy young adults to imagine beyond the imaginable, using our tools.
The use of VR and 3D printing has revolutionized the way we can develop everything and anything. More than 90% of tomorrow’s electric vehicles are being invented on Dassault Systèmes technologies. Our virtual applications are being used to design, model, simulate and build innovative products and solutions that are changing the way we live. We used a touch screen to show the visitors how we can use platforms like Solidworks, CATIA to deconstruct a vehicle, alternate its components and test the finishing product, in our very own virtual world build. We provide people with a 3D medium to model, modify and create anything, from an SUV to a Star Wars X-Wing – and who wouldn’t want to learn how to build an X-Wing?
It has never been so important for us to look at how encourage the next generations to undertake STEM related subjects in both school and university. In the UK, Undergraduate enrolments in STEM subjects represent just under a third of enrolments in all subjects. Overall numbers fell slightly from around 448,000 in 2011/12 to 442,000 in 2015/16. However, the impact we had with over 80,000 visitors coming to our stall, asking questions and taking part in STEM activities has been utterly reassuring to us that a revival in these numbers is happening. The vast majority of advancements in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths have stemmed from a simple idea. We at Dassault Systemes will continue to inspire and give these young adults a platform to explore their ideas, for they truly are, the workforce of the future.