Staffordshire is to host Next Engineers, a GE programme aimed at increasing the diversity of young people entering the engineering profession.
GE is investing £2.5m into the programme in Staffs where the company operates three sites that design, develop, and service products used in the power and renewable energy industries.
GE wants Next Engineers to inspire over 3,500 local students aged 13-18 by giving them first-hand experiences of engineering and awarding financial support to pursue further education in engineering.
In a statement, Kevin O’Neill, president & CEO, GE UK, said: “Our growing global economy will require more engineers to solve society’s most pressing challenges – from clean energy to quality healthcare and more sustainable flight. Next Engineers will provide a platform for Staffordshire’s young people from different backgrounds to bring their unique perspectives to engineering and help address these important issues, enthusing and introducing them to the hands-on learning experiences they will need to pursue engineering careers.”
Stafford joins Cincinnati and Greenville in the United States and Johannesburg in South Africa as an inaugural member of the programme.
Theo Clarke MP, Stafford, said: “Having an initiative like Next Engineers coming to our community is fantastic for young people locally. We were already fortunate to have a top global employer like GE in the region, but local students now have the opportunity to explore viable engineering careers that they had previously thought were unattainable. It really is an amazing opportunity for our young people.”
Next Engineers is a so-called signature programme of the GE Foundation, an independent charitable organisation funded by GE. The GE Foundation is partnering with MyKindaFuture, a UK HR tech company specialising in attracting and facilitating underrepresented talent, to implement Next Engineers in the UK.
In practise, Next Engineers will offer one-hour sessions and hands-on activities for the youngest (Year 9) students. Weeklong Engineering Camps will be run during the school holidays for those in Year 10. There will also be an Engineering Academy providing three-years of out of school coaching for Year 11-13 students. Those accepted onto engineering apprenticeships or engineering degrees will also receive a funding contribution from the GE Foundation.
The Staffordshire investment is part of a $100m, long-term, international Next Engineers programme which GE Foundation unveiled earlier this year. It is designed to reach over 85,000 students across 25 locations globally over the next decade.
Students and teachers in Staffordshire can find out more about the programme at www.nextengineers.org.