Blog: Why we need a new strategy for ensuring engineering and technology can thrive

Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, explains how their new five-year strategy will support the engineering sector to achieve its full potential by tackling persistent workforce challenges.


Engineering and technology are critically important for the UK, with huge opportunities and responsibilities over the coming years, but our sector continues to face significant workforce challenges that threaten to hold us back.

We know that there simply aren’t enough people working in engineering and tech, that workforce shortages are increasing and that the workforce we do have, lacks diversity. For engineering and technology to thrive, we need a stronger, more representative workforce. For that, we have to do things differently to make engineering more enticing.

We recently launched our new strategy, which outlines how we’re planning to address these challenges over the next five years. Our vision is for the UK to have the diverse workforce needed for engineering and technology to thrive and to drive economic prosperity, to improve sustainability and to achieve net zero. This is a big ambition and so you may, quite rightly, be wondering how exactly are we going to tackle this?

We’ve made it our mission to enable more young people from all backgrounds to be inspired, informed and progress into engineering and technology. We’re determined to achieve this, but the first thing we acknowledge is that it will only be possible by working in partnership. We’re proud to collaborate with hundreds of organisations across the sector and this will remain fundamental to our work.

You may already be familiar with some aspects of our work, but it’s important to understand how it all works together. Our new strategy focuses on four key areas: research and evidence, leadership, activities for schools, and advocacy.

First, our research and evidence gives us good insight into the current workforce and future workforce needs. And our evaluations help build understanding about which engagement activities really work to inspire the next generation of engineers. We’ll continue to share our evidence widely, to help ensure that policy development is better informed and that engagement and careers activities are delivered in an inclusive and impactful way.

Second, we lead efforts to grow the collective impact of all engineering and tech inspiration and careers activities for schools, learning from others and driving collaboration to improve the quality of engagement. This includes our Tomorrow’s Engineers work, including our popular Tomorrow’s Engineers Live conference. We also manage The Tomorrow’s Engineers Code which now has over 250 signatories pledging to collaborate to improve their engineering engagement activities – we’re aiming to double that number, so please do join us. By working together, we can ensure more students participate in quality engineering and tech experiences and we can improve the coordination, inclusivity, targeting and impact of engagements.

We’re also expanding our own activities for schools to reach more, and more diverse, young people and ignite a passion for engineering and technology, and we’ll be prioritising content related to sustainability. Some of our programmes have quite focused content and are supported by a small number of funders, such as Energy Quest. Others, like The Big Bang, depend on hundreds of supporters to help us fund and create content for tens of thousands of young people. Do please get in touch if you’d like to find out how we can work together to inspire students with the wonders of modern engineering and tech careers.

Finally, we advocate for the real policy change necessary to ensure all young people get the quality STEM and careers education they need and deserve. And we’ll be continuing to champion vocational routes, such as T Levels and apprenticeships, to open up inclusive opportunities for all and grow the number of young people going into engineering and tech careers.

We’re confident that our new strategy provides us, and importantly all of our partners, with a renewed focus on what we’re trying to achieve, and clarity on how we’re going to get there. As you can see, there are so many ways we can work together to ensure engineering and technology can thrive.

The only question that remains is – will you join us on this mission?