Hutt STEMM Festival: helping raise awareness of engineering

Hutt STEMM Festival-banner.jpg

Hutt City Council's STEMM Festival helps highlight the work of local engineering employers and promotes career opportunities to school students.

Celebrating science, technology, engineering, maths and manufacturing

Hutt City Council launched the inaugural Hutt STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Manufacturing) Festival in 2015. It aimed to highlight the city as a science and technology hub, celebrate innovative and high-tech manufacturing in the area, and raise awareness of STEMM careers. The festival was a great success and is now an annual event.

The festival is supported by local engineering employers, tertiary institutions and a crown research institute, and is aimed for teachers, students and the wider community. The 2016 events for Year 7 to 13 students included industry tours, the STEMM Student Challenge, WelTec Open Day, Hutt Science Discovery Day and Vex Robotics Club. Other events, such as Pop Up Science, were designed for younger children, and the festival included presentations and classes open to anyone in the community.

A few presentations, such as the Callaghan Innovation – Exploring Materials Selection sessions, were aimed for people employed in STEMM careers. Primary and secondary school teachers involved in the festival were invited to attend the Women in Science breakfast as another opportunity to find out about pathways into science and engineering careers.  Secondary school principals and department heads also spent the day touring health technology businesses, learning about the STEMM roles available locally.

Involving local employers

The festival was a good opportunity for engineering employers to raise awareness of what engineers actually do, and to enhance the profile of their own company.

Bernard McClelland, Health and Safety Manager at MJH Engineering, comments on the benefit for his company, “The steel construction Industry is desperately short of skilled workers. If we can ignite the fire in the youth who come through our workshop with the STEMM festival, we have made an investment in MJH Engineering’s future.”

Giving students and parents a good understanding of the opportunities

Over 5,000 people took part in an event or activity over the 2016 Festival, says Hutt City Council STEMM Sector Development Manager Irwin Munro, “a figure we’re looking at growing in 2017.”

“Every year we reach more people and highlight the opportunities within engineering and science in the region, which are often hidden from view at other times of the year. The festival is a great opportunity for students and parents to get a thorough understanding of the engineering training available and the jobs they can to in the greater Wellington region.

Due to organiser feedback and the demand for activities, the festival returns next year for a longer period, running from 6 – 21 May.

Find out more about the Hutt STEMM Festival

Our thanks to Irwin and Bernard for their time and advice; if you have any queries contact

January 2017