Engineering is ‘almost invisible to young people’ because of inadequate careers education and guidance, the UK’s engineering profession has warned.

Education for Engineering (E4E), a group made up of 39 UK engineering bodies, has issued a policy statement providing recommendations to Government on how the careers system in England can be improved to ensure young people are fully informed about the breadth of engineering career opportunities available to them.

E4E has welcomed the proposal by the John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, for the formation of an all-age (13yrs+) independent careers service (November 2010).

However, the Government’s Education Bill removes the duty on schools to provide general careers education for young people. E4E believes this could reduce the number of students being aware of the opportunities engineering provides as a potential career.

E4E’s policy statement makes five recommendations to Government for improving the way careers education, advice and guidance is delivered and provided in schools and colleges:

  • A statutory entitlement for young people in England to receive lessons in careers education as part of Personal, Social and Health Education
  • The need to demonstrate competence in the teaching of careers education as part of the professional standards for qualified teacher status
  • The use of real-life science and engineering examples in lessons with careers awareness embedded in the curriculum
  • Improved access to local and national labour market information for schools and colleges and closer links with local employers
  • Specialist science, engineering and technology advisors in careers advisory agencies - echoing the recommendations of the careers profession taskforce

Along with these recommendations, the engineering profession is committed to working together in coordinated activities to support the national careers information, advice and guidance services.

Dick Olver FREng, Chairman of BAE Systems and Chair of E4E said: “Young people often do not make the connection between the mobile phones they use or the computer game consoles they play on a daily basis and the engineers who created them.

“We need to better inform our children and young adults about the value of engineering and the exciting career opportunities an engineering background can afford. Better careers education in schools and an improved professional independent careers service, that advises young people of the many routes into engineering will improve this situation.

“We must make sure that young people are fully informed about the exciting opportunities afforded by a career in engineering so that we will be able to meet the growing needs of our industries as we continue to re-balance the economy.”

Notes for editors

E4E

E4E is the body through which the engineering profession offerscoordinated andclear advice on education to UK Government and the devolved Assemblies. It deals with all aspects oflearning that underpin engineering.It is both proactive and reactive to ensure that the education systemcontinually remains appropriate to meet the challenges facingsociety. It is hosted by The Royal Academy of Engineering with a wide membership drawn from the professional engineering community including all of the professional engineering institutions. A full list of E4E member institutions and organisations can be found at:  www.educationforengineering.org.uk/membership

The careers policy position statement can be found at:  www.educationforengineering.org.uk/careers-policy

The Careers Profession Taskforce report can be found at:  www.icg-uk.org/article808.html

For more information please contact

Dr Rhys Morgan
Head of Secretariat, E4E
T: 020 7766 0614