The UK government has pledged to work with hundreds of industry partners throughout 2018 to encourage young people and their parents to take a closer look at engineering.
Launched in response to an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year, and growing reports from industry that the skills shortage is having a significant impact on productivity and growth the so-called “Year of Engineering” hopes to galvanise industry, MPs, parents and teachers in a national push to inspire the next generation of engineers.
Activities will include large-sale 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 – which aims to build on existing engagement initiative such as Engineering UK’s Big Bang Fair and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Ingenious programme, 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.
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 per cent male and 94 per cent white.
Partners including Siemens, the Science Museum Group, Ocado, Usborne, BAE Systems and Crossrail have already pledged their support.
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.”
Professor Dame Ann Dowling, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, welcomed the government’s support for the sector adding: “The Year of Engineering provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the benefits of engineering to the UK economy and the myriad different career options that are available for young people, building on and elevating the work delivered by the profession to date to engage young people with STEM, and engineering in particular.”
“Engineering is an exciting and stimulating job where you can make a real difference, improving and enriching people’s lives, sometimes on a global scale.”
The Year of Engineering launches in January 2018. To find out more, visit the Year of Engineering partner website .