THE UK government has launched a new initiative to boost the uptake of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) amongst school pupils in the UK, 2018 Year of Engineering.
There is a growing skills gap in engineering that the government wants to address. It estimates that there is a shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates every year. It also hopes to tackle a lack of diversity in engineering. The current engineering workforce is 94% white and 91% male.
The government plans to join forces with more than 130 partner organisations such as Shell, Rolls-Royce, the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), Crossrail and Tata to organise events and engineering experiences for young people aged 7–16. These might include ‘open door’ events at sites and facilities, hands-on science events, schools ambassador programmes and sharing inspiring stories from their own engineers. It is also hoped that the Year of Engineering initiative will help to inform teachers and parents about careers in engineering.
Secretary of state for transport, Chris Grayling said that there had “never been a better time” for careers across engineering, as major infrastructure projects like HS2 get underway, and with advances in technology and healthcare.
Hayaatun Sillem, deputy chief executive of RAEng, added: “The Year of Engineering provides a unique opportunity for the engineering community to have greater collective impact than has been possible before, showing more young people that engineering is for everyone. We look forward to building on the platform it will provide with our ongoing work to change perceptions about engineering. Closing the engineering skills gap is a long-term challenge but we hope that the Year of Engineering is going to be a real clarion call to the profession to help inspire the next generation of engineers.”
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