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STEM Spotlight Awards Offers $20,000 Prize for Next Generation of Creative Ideas

/ -- Industry and government unveil a first-of-its-kind competition in Canada to recognize the need for skilled workers and apprentices in British Columbia's STEM industries

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Oct 19, 2016) - Babcock Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Babcock International Group, today launched a new initiative that offers BC post-secondary individuals the opportunity to win $20,000 for their creative solutions to real-world issues. The five industry challenges of the STEM Spotlight Awards were unveiled at an event at Science World in Vancouver this morning. BC students and individuals between the ages of 18 - 28 have until December 2nd to offer solutions to these challenges; the winning entry will be awarded the $20,000 cash prize.

This is a first-of-its-kind competition for the STEM sectors in BC. The competition shines a light on creative thinkers and problem-solvers who may not fall into the traditional post-secondary education system. Bringing together five industry leaders, the STEM Spotlight Awards pose real-world questions supported by industry and community partners. This inaugural initiative is designed to draw attention to the next generation of careers that will break new ground and create positive real-world change.

With emphasis on five distinctly different challenge questions across five uniquely impactful sectors, the awards are presented in partnership with top-employers actively recruiting for future talented thinkers and doers.

The five challenges were unveiled today by Mark Dixon, President of Babcock Canada, alongside key industry leaders. Applicants are invited to submit a written response of 1,500 or less to any of the following questions:

  • Energy (sponsored by Peace River Hydro Partners)
    How could you maximize civil works production by improving the existing charter flight system that provides service between Fort St. John and six flight hubs in BC?

  • Infrastructure (sponsored by SNC-Lavalin)
    With the increase and intensity of weather events on the West Coast, how can we design critical infrastructure (ex. bridges, power grids, roads) to be more resilient and better withstand such events?

  • Sustainability (sponsored by Structurlam Products)
    As BC Building Code requirements evolve, how would you design a system using Crosslam CLT to create high-performance and sustainable buildings of tomorrow?

  • Technology (sponsored by Unbounce)
    Employing artificial intelligence, create a marketing application which results in future buying experiences that are both more profitable to businesses and more delightful and valuable to consumers.

  • Transportation (sponsored by BC Ferries)
    Taking into consideration innovation and structural changes in the economy, what will the ferry system look like in 2050?

"We are delighted to bring together key BC industry leaders to challenge the future generation to create solutions, while also raising awareness of the tremendous career opportunities that BC holds in STEM fields," said Mark Dixon, President of Babcock Canada Inc. "Given the success of the similar UK STEM Awards presented by Babcock International, we are excited to see the game-changing ideas created by the next generation of problem-solvers here in BC."

"Science World is proud to be the community partner for the STEM Spotlight Awards," said Scott Sampson, President and CEO of Science World. "Inspiring youth to become STEM-literate and to pursue STEM careers is critical both for those youth and for British Columbia's economy. The STEM Spotlight Awards provide a wonderful venue to highlight work in STEM fields by amazing young scientists, individuals who are role models for the next generation of science leaders."

Amber Papou, Executive Director of Skills Canada British Columbia added, "Building a skilled and innovative workforce requires an education that emphasizes STEM-based learning opportunities. Skills Canada British Columbia is very proud to be part of initiatives like the STEM Spotlight Awards which provides students with opportunities to explore, innovate and apply STEM based skills to solve real-world challenges."

"The STEM Spotlight Awards are an excellent way to encourage BC youth to think outside the box in approaching industry challenges," said Gary Herman, CEO, ITA. "Especially within the skilled trades, and the many job opportunities expected across the province in coming years, innovation is always top-of-mind in the way that we attract and train apprentices. It will be great to hear their forward-thinking ideas and solutions."

Program details:

  • The STEM Spotlight Awards are open to post-secondary individuals who are between 18 - 28 years of age and are interested in pursuing a career within the STEM sectors. Applicants may enter on their own or as a team of 2, 3 or 4 individuals.
  • The deadline for entries is December 2, 2016.
  • Judges will choose a winner in each category; the overall winner will be awarded a $20,000 cash prize and category winners will receive $1,000.
  • Winners will be announced at a gala in Vancouver in January 2017.

Full program details are online at

About Babcock International Group and Babcock Canada Inc.

Babcock International Group is the UK's leading engineering support services company, delivering complex and critical asset support both in the UK and overseas. With revenue of circa $9 billion CAD in 2015 and an order book of circa $38 billion CAD, Babcock International Group manages vital assets within a number of industry sectors including energy, defence, emergency services, transport, telecommunications and education.

Babcock Canada Inc. provides critical and complex support to strategically important assets, infrastructure and training programs primarily in the Canadian defense, security, marine, and construction sectors. Operating from locations in Halifax, Ottawa and Victoria, Babcock Canada Inc. has more than 300 expert personnel providing systems engineering, material and supply chain management and project management solutions.

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Kelsi Carleton