More than 30 MPs have pledged their support for a national campaign to get more young people into engineering, joining government and industry in a united effort to tackle a major skills gap.
The Year of Engineering, which launches in January, will see government work with hundreds of industry partners to raise the profile of engineering among young people aged 7-16, their parents and their teachers. This will include offering at least a million direct experiences of engineering to young people from all backgrounds – from behind the scenes tours and family days out, to school visits and the chance to meet engineering role models.
At an event in Parliament yesterday, Wednesday 6 December, MPs from across the UK committed to supporting the campaign in their constituencies. Pledges included connecting schools with local engineering employers and encouraging businesses to take part in open doors events for schools and families.
Minister for the Year of Engineering and Transport Skills Minister John Hayes said: “If we are going to create a country fit to meet all new challenges, we need to train the next generation of highly-skilled British workers.
“Engineering and all it brings is at the heart of economic success and provides exciting opportunities of fulfilling careers through skills that will shape all our futures, but for too many employers a lack of skilled engineers is limiting growth. That's why I am delighted to see so many of my colleagues determined to promote engineering. Their determination and dedication, enthusiasm and engagement will help to make the year of engineering not only a year-long campaign but a lifelong success.
“Now, huge opportunities exist as the government’s strategic investment in infrastructure bears fruit. New skills, new jobs and new prospects will turn vision to reality, if we show young people, their parents and their teachers what engineering can mean: a career in engineering offers creativity, variety, the chance to innovate and so make a real difference.”
HM Government Envoy for the Year of Engineering Stephen Metcalfe MP said: “The value of engineering skills is frequently underestimated, outdated perceptions of the profession are still widespread, and the industry continues to suffer from a lack of diversity in its workforce.
“The Year of Engineering aims to tackle these challenges, so it’s vital that the campaign is championed across government, parliament and industry.
“We know how much enthusiasm there is in all parts of the profession to encourage engineers of the future. We want this campaign to unite those ambitions, and I welcome these pledges of support from my fellow MPs which will be vital in helping to drive this across the country.”
The event was jointly hosted by government and the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET), marking the publication of its annual Skills Survey report – which looks at the skills challenges faced by engineering and technology employers in the UK.
Nigel Fine, IET Chief Executive, said: “The IET 2017 Engineering and Technology Skills Survey highlights a buoyant sector with high value jobs being created. In order to deliver on the skills challenge we must ensure we have enough people with the practical and technical skills required by industry, and recruit widely from a diverse pool of potential talent, bringing in all sections of society.
“The cross-government Year of Engineering campaign will be an ideal way of celebrating the amazing contribution that engineering makes to society, and encourage young people to join the profession. The IET is delighted to be supporting the campaign to highlight the exciting, creative and rewarding world of engineering.”
Hundreds of partners have signed up to support the Year of Engineering, including Siemens, the Science Museum Group, Ocado, Usborne, BAE Systems and Crossrail. Teaming up with partners from many different sectors, the government will deliver a year of UK-wide school visits, exhibitions and open doors events – all aimed at encouraging young people and their parents to take a closer look at engineering.