Julia Evans, BSRIA chief executive.
This national campaign is designed to increase understanding among young people, aged seven to 16, of what engineers do. It will have a space-themed focus – involving British astronaut, Tim Peak – to attract youngsters to the engineering sector.
The Year of Engineering seeks to improve the desirability of engineering as a career, and increase awareness of the opportunities available in the industry.
A significant project will see the Department for Education (DfE) working with the Design and Technology Association to develop a series of curriculum-based resources which will use the design and technology curriculum as a “platform to motivate more young people to consider careers in engineering”.
EngineeringUK will be joining forces with government and industry to give thousands of young people inspiring experiences of engineering, as part of a year-long campaign to tackle the engineering skills gap and widen the pool of young people who join the profession.
The campaign will encourage young people from all backgrounds to take a closer look at engineering, challenging stereotypes and showcasing the variety and creativity of this forward-looking and innovative sector.
Engineering is one of the most productive sectors in the UK economy, yet there is a shortfall in qualified engineering graduates, and a lack of diversity in the profession; the professional engineering workforce is 94 percent white and 91 percent male.
Julia Evans, BSRIA chief executive, commented: “Engineering, the STEM subjects and even specifically a career in construction is often undervalued and misunderstood. Getting youngsters fired up about these subjects and this exciting and rewarding career should start in schools as young as possible.
It was astonishing to learn that only a third of parents really know what people in engineering actually do. History has shown that those who pursue a career in engineering and science arguably make the biggest impact to the world; incredible minds provide us with incredible ideas we once might have thought of as unbelievable but are now ingrained in our society.
Indeed, the BSRIA INSPIRE project, launched in 2016, is working with local schools, national and local politicians, and the media to promote STEM and change its perceptions.
INSPIRE raises the questions: why are STEM subjects important? What does engineering mean for you? Why does technology matter? There is one answer to those three questions which is quite simply ‘everything’.
I know there are some incredible activities already happening to encourage young people into the engineering sector but we should all grasp this opportunity to do more. The 2018 Year of Engineering is fantastic news and will create the necessary momentum needed.”