It’s been great to hear about all the fantastic activities that took place across the UK throughout Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (7-11 November) – companies and organisations such as Thames Tideway, Richer Education, IET, ICE and WISE all helped shine a spotlight on engineering careers in a way that many young people, particularly girls, may never have considered before.
To mark the week, we worked with visitor attractions nationwide such as London Zoo, Clifton Suspension Bridge and the National Space Centre to develop worksheets showing engineering in unusual places and highlighting how it plays its part in their everyday work. Visitors can find out that the roof of the London Zoo Tiger Territory is made of a super-lightweight stainless steel mesh and that Apollo’s fuel cells can create water for the crew to drink as well as generating electricity.
Leading up to Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, we were delighted to once again bring a slice of The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair to the House of Commons at the annual Big Bang @ Parliament event, hosted with the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee.
It was good to see the chairs of the Education and Science and Technology Select Committees there with a host of politicians, policymakers and companies including BAE Systems and JCB, discussing the importance of getting young people into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and developing the right skills for future economic health. We also welcomed some of this year’s young Big Bang Competition finalists to showcase their impressive projects. Hearing from competition alumni Sarah Sobka, now a second year medical student, and Kia and Sky Ballantyne, whose Crikey Bikey product has gone from strength to strength, showed just what an impactful and transformative opportunity The Big Bang provides.
This month also sees the third anniversary of the Perkins Review, which looked at the need to equip people with the right STEM skills in order to compete in the global race. The report kicked off lots of different work streams – focusing not just on sending out leaflets, but on really involving people. Through Engineering UK’s initiatives, together we reached more than 400,000 young people and 48 per cent of all UK secondary schools last year. The young people that have taken part in The Big Bang and Tomorrow’s Engineers agree that “a career in engineering is desirable” to a much larger extent than the national average, showing that the profile for engineering careers is getting stronger.