2018 is officially the Year of Engineering, and as such a new campaign has been launched to encourage young people into the profession and is part of a year long campaign to tackle the skills gap and widen the pool of young people.
The Year of Engineering will see government and industry tackle the major skills gap together, with Ministers from across government joining forces with engineers, industry experts and hundreds of businesses to change perceptions around engineering, as well as highlighting the scale of opportunity that careers in the industry hold for young people in the UK.
A shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates every year is a serious worry and this gap will affect growth in one of the UK’s most productive sectors.
There is also widespread misunderstanding of engineering among young people and their parents and a lack of diversity in the sector – the workforce is 91% male and 94% white.
The pioneering campaign was launched this week at an Inspiring the Future event organised by Year of Engineering partner Education and Employers. The event saw schoolchildren meet engineers with the aim of filling the skills gap and changing misconceptions. Throughout the year, government and its 1,000 partners will deliver a million inspiring experiences of engineering for young people, parents and teachers.
The UK Space Agency will be supporting the campaign by funding a series of education and outreach projects designed to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: “Engineers – whether they are working on cutting-edge technology in aerospace, energy or artificial intelligence – are vital to the lifeblood of our economy.
“We want to show young people and their parents the immense creativity, opportunity and value of the profession. By bringing them face to face with engineering role models and achievements we can send a clear message that engineering careers are a chance for all young people, regardless of gender, ethnicity or social background, to shape the future of this country and have a real impact on the lives of those around them.”
Skills Minister, Anne Milton said: “I want to see everyone whatever their background, wherever they live to have a chance to get a rewarding career or job in engineering whether they come via a technical or academic route.
“The Year of Engineering gives us a great opportunity to work together with business to inspire a new generation of world class engineers. We want to build the science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills that we need for a growing economy, as highlighted in the government’s Industrial Strategy.”
Crossrail Chair Sir Terry Morgan said: “The Year of Engineering will be a fantastic opportunity to inspire others to take a fresh look at engineering and show the range of opportunities there are for training and jobs in this sector. We look forward to showcasing the role engineers have played in creating such an amazing project before the Elizabeth line opens to passengers at the end of 2018.”
Mark Richardson, Ocado Chief Operating Officer, said: “Encouraging more young people to enter the engineering profession is essential to ensure the growth and development of new technologies and businesses in the UK. At Ocado we build the world’s most advanced automated warehouses for online grocery, and we hope our involvement in this campaign will offer young people from diverse backgrounds a real insight into the exciting and rewarding life of an engineer.”
You can support the Year of Engineering by highlighting some of the many different ways that individuals and organisations can #inspireanengineer on social media – follow the hashtag on Twitter to find out more.
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