The Festival, the brainchild of Chippenham MP Michelle Donelan, aims to inspire the next generation of local engineers and manufacturers, paving the way for a new skilled workforce for future business needs. “We will give young people the opportunity to participate, explore and interact with those already engaged in research and development, design and production in our area,” said Ms Donelan.

“It’s essential we provide the catalyst young people require, to see what science and engineering has to offer, plus how it can influence the world around us.”

The Wiltshire Festival of Engineering has won the support of major sponsors, including the James Dyson Foundation, Hitachi, Good Energy and Great Western Railway. The Festival will set a new standard; capturing the imaginations of young people and supporting schools. Its work will stimulate student interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, all of which are crucial to future engineering careers.

The UK’s skill shortage; how STEM can help. Many of Wiltshire’s most successful companies operate in the technology sphere. Yet without home-grown talent to take on future design challenges, such firms may have to source employees from outside local employment markets. “It would be a tragedy to see our local technology firms struggling to find local talent,” comments Ms Donelan.

“Yet without the right emphasis on STEM subjects, particularly in Design and Technology, young people may fail to access work in the engineering and technology arena. We have a superb heritage in design in the region. As crucially, tomorrow’s engineers must design solutions that address not only modern needs, but modern challenges in a fast paced world. For these reasons, the Wiltshire Festival of Engineering is vital in more than one way. We can build local talent and local jobs, but we should also think of how we can influence on global and sustainable levels too.”

The Festival will take place on Wednesday 28th September 2016 at Chippenham’s Olympiad Leisure Centre. Michelle Donelan anticipates hundreds of local young people attending. “I hope they will be inspired by some of the fantastic businesses that are based locally,” she said. “The Festival of Engineering is not a silver bullet, but I hope that it can grow to become a valuable resource for career education and inspiration in the region.”