Maker Faire
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Maker Faire will inspire next generation of engineers

Newcastle’s festival of invention, innovation and creativity, Maker Faire UK has drawn praise from Business Secretary, Vince Cable.

The Faire, held in the Centre for Life in Newcastle, is a two day event which sees engineers, scientists, crafters and artists present their projects to visitors.

Vince Cable MP has emphasised the importance of the Faire in addressing the shortage of engineers in the UK.

He said: “We need to show young people how exciting a career in this field can be.

“I hope Maker Faire UK will inspire the next generation of engineers, especially amongst women who are chronically under-represented in the profession.”

Maker Faire UK will bring together a highly diversified group of individuals who will present exciting projects alongside playful installations and drop-in workshops to an expected audience of more than 10,000.

Organisers of the event are calling on the business, education and science communities to join forces in an initiative that will encourage more young people to launch projects, develop products and take up careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Linda Conlon, Chief Executive of the Centre for Life, which organises Maker Faire UK, said: “The North East is carving out a new future for itself as a creative and innovative science and technology base, nurturing entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“But there is a skills gap that is threatening to hold us back.

“We need to offer our young people imaginative ways to engage with science, technology and engineering so they can see how exciting it is and how it can help open up a whole world of rewarding careers.

“Events like Maker Faire offer part of the solution. They’re exciting and inspirational.

“This event only lasts two days but we want to ensure that it is the start of something much bigger.

“We want to partner with business to create a permanent space at the Centre for Life where young people can design, create and build things, where they can meet with industry experts to test their ideas and pitch their prototypes.”

The concept was established in 2006 in the US and counts President Obama among its fans, who has urged businesses and educators to: “Think about new and creative ways to engage young people in science and engineering…[to help them] create, build and invent, to be makers of things, not just consumers of things.”

The Centre for Life is already working with partners at Northumbria and Newcastle Universities to continue to deliver events such as Maker Faire UK.

Lucy Winskell, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Business and Engagement at Northumbria University, said: “As a research-engaged university, we share the passion for curiosity, science and innovation that the Centre and the Maker Faire events inspire.

“We are proud to be based in a city which has links to famous inventors such as Joseph Swan and George Stephenson and equally delighted to continue this tradition of innovation through our own graduates such as iPhone and iPod designer Jonathan Ive.”

Roy Sandbach, a Trustee of the Centre for Life, and Newcastle University Business School’s Visiting Professor of Innovation and Enterprise, added: “It’s clear we have a skills gap in the field of STEM and urgently need to develop ways to close it or we will lose out not only as a region but as a global player in this area.

“Maker Faire is an innovative and imaginative way to highlight the creativity involved in science. Nowhere else in the world would you get the chance to experience great creative design, science, art, craft and manufacturing from hundreds of enthusiastic people, all in one place.

“The buzz of “new things” all around you!

“We need to create opportunities for those young people who have been inspired and want to explore further, let’s not waste this opportunity.

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