There is a 20,000 annual shortfall of engineering graduates. Not surprising as only 10% of the young people surveyed by EngineeringUK said they had considered a career in engineering.
In 2018, the government is aiming to turn this around, launching the Year of Engineering. Created to inspire the next generation of innovators, inventors and problem solvers, this nationwide campaign wants to celebrate UK engineering and to alter perceptions of what it means to be an engineer.
Bringing industry partners together, the Year of Engineering encourages them to co-create impactful initiatives, unlock opportunities, and help recruit the next generation of engineers. Joining the campaign gives engineering companies access to a network of like-minded organisations and industry leaders, as well as offering a prime opportunity to promote and drive participation in their own initiatives and events.
In order to hit the target of 186,000 skilled engineering recruits per year, the industry’s impact in schools is vital. Research has shown that even STEM teachers, who are committed to broadening understanding and awareness of STEM subjects, lack confidence in teaching pupils about engineering and often struggle to relate to the subject within the boundaries of the curriculum. Furthermore, many of these teachers don’t play a role in careers guidance. Often this falls to a different teacher or department who may not have STEM knowledge or experience meaning they’re simply not aware of what engineering can offer.
That’s where the Year of Engineering steps in.
To highlight the breadth of opportunities in this industry, teachers can download a range of innovative and practical lesson ideas, as well as inspirational videos featuring engineers from a range of creative areas. There will also be even more STEM-related events running across the country this year, including Big Bang Fairs, family engineering days and careers events, so there’s no excuse to not to get involved.
But it’s not just educating young people about the range of careers on offer, this campaign is committed to reaching under-represented groups. While a higher percentage of girls are taking A levels in the three sciences, technology and maths, they are not going on to study the same subjects at university, thus leaving the engineering sector 94% white and 92% male. At the Year of Engineering launch, Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said the campaign will send a clear message that “engineering careers are…for all… regardless of gender, ethnicity or social background”. This will be highlighted through events such as Siemens See Women roadshow which inspires girls to pursue STEM careers.
From rockets to radiotherapy, make up to mobile phones, snowboards to special effects, engineering is in everything. There has never been a better time for industry partners, businesses and schools to get involved and celebrate the importance of engineering and we’re looking forward to working together to make this happen.