We’re pleased to announce Stamford Digital is one of this year’s sponsors of the annual Peterborough STEM Festival.

This event, founded by Digital People in Peterborough (DPiP), takes place in October and promises fun for all the family. It brings the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to life through engaging and inspiring activities.

Why did we choose to sponsor the event?

The day event is connected to Ada Lovelace Day (ADL). This is an internationally-recognised day which celebrates women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). ADL aims to raise the profile of women working in these fields, with the hope it will encourage the next generation and more young women to follow in their footsteps.

Stamford Digital’s co-founder Tim Baker has seen first-hand the distinct lack of women working in software and digital.
He says, “While in education, every computing lecture room I entered was predominantly filled with men. In more recent years, when I’ve been involved in software team recruitment, I would only see the rare CV arrive in the inbox from a woman.
“The tech/digital industry in general doesn’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to the treatment of women. This reputation can only be improved by encouraging more women into the industry.
“I have a young daughter of my own and I would like to think she would have exactly the same opportunities in life as my son.”

Back in 2016, the BBC reported that urgent action was required to deal with the UK’s digital skills crisis. This problem was highlighted again back in June 2018 when they reported that fewer children are gaining the digital skills necessary according to employers and the government. Stamford Digital’s sponsorship contribution to STEM fest is very small, but we hope our sponsorship and shout-outs about the event help to encourage more young women, and young people in general, to learn and become passionate about digital and software.

We spoke to one of the event’s organisers to find out more

We asked Jonathan Frascella (aka Joff) a few questions about the upcoming festival, now in its third year.

Q: What has the feedback been like from parents and carers who have taken their children to past events?

A: Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive which has been really encouraging for us. One family commented that they had been there all day and wished they could have stayed longer!

We try to be as accessible and inclusive as possible, opening the event earlier for a local charity enabling families of children with additional needs to take part in a quieter setting.

Q: What do you think makes the event so successful?

A: I think it’s a combination of things – but essentially it’s the enthusiasm and ambition of the team, along with support from the wider STEM community. We constantly push what should be achievable by a team of four volunteer organisers working in our spare time, catching the attention of other organisations who want to be part of something so exciting. We also strive to keep the event completely free which we think is really appreciated by visitors – which wouldn’t be possible without the support from partners and sponsors!

Q: How will this year’s event differ from previous years?

A: This year, for the first time, we are adding an extra day to the main festival event, exclusively for secondary schools, colleges and home-educated children to attend. This will be run in partnership with The Skills Service, with more emphasis on STEM careers. Last year was our biggest main event to date with 2,500 visitors, but with the additional day we’re hoping to attract over 6,000 visitors across the two days.

Q: Are you able to give us any inside information about some of the activities that will be on show this year?

A: We’re in talks with a number of new exhibitors this year, including motorsport teams – but it’s too early to confirm specifics. We are hoping to see a return of as many of the exhibitors from previous years, but we are also very keen to hear from new exhibitors interested in being involved – from solo hobbyists to multi-national organisations. This year’s special guest(s) are still under wraps, so watch this space!

The Peterborough STEM Festival is a free event taking place on Saturday 12th October at the Kings Gate Conference Centre, Peterborough.