Business leaders from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors have come together to find out how to attract more young people into their industries.
During a business breakfast earlier in the week, organised by Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership, owners and managers heard from guest speaker Kate Mactear, from the Womenâs Engineering Society, which is a professional network of women engineers, scientists and technologists.
SWLEP director Paddy Bradley also addressed the meeting, and spoke about ways to overcome the countyâs skills shortage.
He said: The aim in organising events like these is for business to respond collectively to common issues like skills shortages.
We want to involve businesses as they can play an active role in engaging young minds not only about the benefits of studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics but also telling them how future-ready they will be if they decide to do so.
The event finished with a tour of the Wiltshire 3D Enterprise Centre at Wiltshire College in Chippenham and was held ahead of the Festival of Engineering and Manufacturing at the nearby Olympiad Leisure Centre.
The festival was first thought of by Chippenham MP, Michelle Donelan, with the aim of inspiring school children to pursue a career in science and engineering.
Approximately 1,500 children attended the festival, which was supported by businesses including Dyson, Siemens, Hitachi, Good Energy, Network Rail and EDF.
Among the star attractions was a full scale model of the ExoMars Rover, brought to the festival by Airbus Defence and Space Group, which is the number one defence and space enterprise in Europe.
The MP commented: I hope that by enthusing young people from an early age, we will inspire them to develop an interest in science, manufacturing and engineering so that they might consider it as an exciting, rewarding career.
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.