Tomorrow People needed for strong STEM economy

The Paul Jackson Column

Tomorrow’s Engineers reflects the need for the country to concentrate on innovation, technology and high-value exports to move the economy towards a sound, sustainable recovery.

This week I’ve been speaking to the Transformation Trust and the Prince’s Trust, charities doing great things to improve the lives of young people through education. It’s reassuring that others plugged into the social agenda can see the value of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and of joining up with existing STEM engagements. This is where Tomorrow’s Engineers comes in. By partnering with Tomorrow’s Engineers, a collaborative programme of school activities and careers resources, organisations like these can tap into an already existing and effective model of engagement to achieve shared goals to promote the opportunities that science, technology, engineering and maths can offer young people. 

In the past year Tomorrow’s Engineers has worked with a range of businesses, including E.ON, GKN, Goodrich, Jaguar Land Rover, Motorola Solutions, National Grid, Rolls-Royce and Severn Trent, and a carefully selected number of delivery partners, to engage with nearly 42,000 students and almost 3,000 teachers. And by joining up more, we can do more.

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Rolls-Royce is among the companies involved in Tomorrow’s Engineers

By working together we can achieve more, reach further and embed important careers messaging. Tomorrow’s Engineers ensures that all engagements are robustly evaluated across the board, so we can measure the impact of our joined-up efforts, what is working and where the challenges and opportunities lie. The programme is led by EngineeringUK and the Royal Academy of Engineering and is underpinned by quality, consistent careers resources for young people and teachers, developed by EngineeringUK, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Physics.

This is important, of course, because to achieve sustainable growth, our economy vitally needs engineers and engineering – a message that I hope to see reflected in the Queen’s Speech on 8 May. We are more than half way through the current Parliamentary term and only two years away from the next general election – there is no better time for the speech to lay out plans for the future with a focus on opportunities for growth. For me, the priorities have to be:

1)     Investing in infrastructure

2)     Increasing the number of young people and adults with STEM skills ready to enter the engineering profession

3)     Reconnecting business and education

I’d also issue a fourth call to action, this time to the engineering community – “get involved”! Work with EngineeringUK to ensure we have the joined up approach in place that will ensure we can deliver growth for the UK.

My colleague, John Halton, is on hand if you’d like to find out more: jhalton@engineeringuk.com or 020 3206 0436.