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Sunday, 25 February

The Year of Engineering

The Year of Engineering will see government and industry offer young people across the UK a million direct experiences of engineering in a major push to tackle the skills gap.

The government has said it will work with hundreds of industry partners and pledged to offer a million direct and inspiring experiences of engineering to young people throughout the year 2018.

Teaming up with a diverse range of partners – covering everything from technology, healthcare and food production to energy, culture and transport – the campaign aims to galvanise industry, MPs, parents and teachers in a national push to inspire the next generation of engineers.

Activities will include outreach programmes, such as a £1 million investment from Shell in the interactive Tomorrow’s Engineers Energy Quest programme for thousands of schoolchildren; a children’s book on engineering from publisher Usborne; and behind the scenes tours for families. The campaign will also highlight the role that individuals can play – from parents helping children with their maths homework or enrolling them in a coding club, to engineers from all backgrounds sharing their experience and advice in schools or via social media.

 

Tackling the shortfall

The commitment comes as the UK faces an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year, with half of companies in the sector saying the shortage is having a significant impact on productivity and growth. By bringing young people from all backgrounds face to face with engineering experiences and role models, the campaign aims to showcase the creativity and innovation of engineering careers and widen the pool of young people who consider the profession, diversifying a workforce that is 91% male and 94% white.

Partners including Siemens, the Science Museum Group, Ocado, Usborne, BAE Systems and Crossrail have already pledged their support. Teaming up with these and hundreds of other partners, the government will deliver a year of UK-wide school visits, exhibitions and open doors events – all aimed at encouraging young people and their parents to take a closer look at engineering.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: “Engineering is one of the most productive sectors in our economy but a lack of young people entering the profession is damaging growth. With major investment being made in infrastructure and new technologies that aim to improve the way we travel, work and live, it’s crucial to the nation’s success that more people join the profession.

“This Year of Engineering is our commitment to transforming perceptions of engineering among young people, their parents and their teachers. We need people from all backgrounds to see the creativity, opportunity and value of engineering careers.”

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: “Engineering makes a significant contribution to our economy and this government is determined to strengthen it further. To ensure we have a high-skilled economy that is fit for the future, our industrial strategy is committed to helping people and businesses by boosting engineering and ensuring everyone has the skills needed to thrive in a modern economy.”

Education Minister Anne Milton said: “I want to see young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue rewarding careers and jobs in engineering whether they choose an academic or technical route. Through the Year of Engineering, we will work with businesses to inspire the next generation of world-class engineers. For our country to thrive and prosper with the highly-skilled individuals that businesses need we must work with employers to tackle the skills gap. The Year of Engineering will help to address the shortages of engineers that have long held us back as an economy."

The Year of Engineering launches in January 2018. To find out more, visit the Year of Engineering partner website or follow the campaign on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #inspireanengineer to discover how parents, teachers, engineers and organisations can inspire the next generation of budding engineers.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Head of Education Peter Finegold said: “It is very timely that government is taking steps to boost the profile of engineering.  We hope that by working with industry and academia, the Year of Engineering will help to show the public the vital role engineering plays in society.

“From developing more efficient transport through to developing medical equipment, engineers around the country are working to improve the world we live in.

“Given the chronic shortage of graduate and apprentice engineers, we especially hope this campaign play a key role in support of the imminent Industrial Strategy white paper.”

The Year of Engineering launches in January 2018. To find out more, visit the Year of Engineering partner website

 

 

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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