“Apprenticeships are trade union business” was the message that unionlearn took to this year’s Big Bang Fair in Birmingham’s NEC last week.
The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for young people in the UK. It aims to show young people aged 7 to 19 the exciting and rewarding opportunities out there for them with the right experience and qualifications, by bringing classroom learning to life.
The Fair gives young people the chance to hear from inspiring engineers and scientists from some of the UK’s biggest companies and find out about the opportunities available in STEM. Visitors could discover virtual reality, medicine, marine biology, film and TV, space exploration, explosive chemistry, crime-solving, robots, computer coding, microscopic bugs, giant trucks and more.
The event welcomes employers ranging from the army and NHS to utilities companies and high-tech businesses as well as education providers.
Apprenticeships in STEM industries was a very popular area amongst the thousands of young people attending over the four-day event – and the unionlearn stand was swamped with pupils and teachers picking up information on the rights of apprentices, case studies on the way that unions can support young people into work and trying out their basic maths and English skills on a unionlearn quiz.
The unionlearn team of Mark Rowe, Matt Pointon and Keith Hatch were joined by the local WEA and kept busy for the duration of the event.
Unionlearn Project Officer Mark Rowe said:
We had a great time and from the minute we set up the unionlearn stand was inundated with school groups trying out our quiz, asking questions about apprenticeships and picking up leaflets on the rights that apprentices have at work.”
The Big Bang Fair is a very useful, and busy, event for unionlearn to attend, and we were very grateful for organisers encouraging us to attend and the help we had from West Midlands Workers Education Association. We not only got to spread the message of union learning to thousands of young people but we also get a chance to talk to teachers and highlight the benefits of high quality apprenticeships as one route into a career for their pupils.”
Click the link to find more out about the Know Your Rights guide.