Support the D&T Association’s Campaign
Making young people aware of Engineering careers and beginning their education towards one is in potential decline.
I was recently sent an email which explained the paradox between the UK’s need for innovation in manufacturing and the lack of Design and Technology education in primary and secondary schools and it got me thinking about the importance of supporting the cause, as a Joint Director of a UK manufacturing company.
It is important that young people understand that engineering and manufacturing has changed dramatically from the old traditional view of men working in grubby workshops and factories. They need to know that a wide variety of engineering skills are in high demand for the UK, practiced in modern technical environments. The recently aired BBC TV programme, ‘Building Cars Live’, showed the excellent MINI manufacturing plant, which illustrated the modern methods and innovative equipment that is now used in car production.
Not only is it children that are being discouraged from becoming engineers but females in particular. Twenty-two year old Isis Wenger, appeared in an ad for San-Francisco based company, OneLogin. The issue was that people thought she was a model and not a real engineer because of her pretty face. A twitter campaign ensued to stop the misconception of ‘pretty’ women not being recognised for being engineers as a career choice - #Ilooklikeanengineer.
If we do not encourage the next generation whether male or female to get into engineering, then we run the risk of falling behind our peers. Mike Campbell, Professor and former director of research and policy at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, stated the UK’s failure to invest in the kinds of technical and engineering skills that industry needs, is one reason why we lag our peers in competitiveness, productivity and economic performance.
Children’s education in engineering and manufacturing needs to continue and be enhanced, in order to encourage the next generation of engineers. Part of any education, should be the understanding that engineering is a respected career that should be open to all people. There still seems to be evidence, that to be accepted as an engineer you must fall into the traditional stereotype. This further prevents people wanting an engineering career and therefore, deprives manufacturing industries.
Please follow the links below to read more and watch the video showing the views of leading engineers and innovators. If you agree with them, please register your support below.