The Royal Academy of Engineering today launches the making things better Campaign. The Campaign aims to raise £16.5 million for the Academy’s education and engagement work and to create a national Forum for Engineering.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, founder and Senior Fellow of the Academy, will tonight host a special reception at St James’s Palace to celebrate the launch of the Campaign.

£10million raised via the Campaign will go towards funding existing and new programmes that attract more young people from a diverse range of backgrounds into all levels of engineering. The Academy is already working to diversify and expand the engineering workforce, having pioneered the London Engineering Project, a scheme to widen participation in engineering, particularly among women, ethnic minorities and families with no history of higher education. Its success has enabled similar projects to start in Wales and in Barrow as part of the Academy-run National Engineering Programme.

The Campaign launches at a time when recent figures show the UK will need to recruit an estimated 325,000 new engineers and technicians into manufacturing by 2017, according to the latest Engineering UK statistical forecasts. Over the next 10 years the number of 15-24 year-olds is set to drop by 8 per cent, presenting industry with a steadily diminishing pool of talent from which to recruit. Developing the vital role of technicians, through vehicles such as the Academy-led Education for Engineering, will be a crucial part of solving the problem.

In addition the Academy aims to encourage innovation and build links between industry and academia through supporting schemes like the Visiting Teaching Fellowship scheme, which sees young industrial engineers teach on university engineering courses.

Lord Browne of Madingley, President of the Academy, says: “Following the events of the past two years, it’s clear that Britain must rebalance its economy – by nurturing some sectors and investing in new ones. Nascent industries in low-carbon energy, robotics, nanotechnology and creative design could soon provide thousands of new jobs in the UK.”

“We plan to put engineering where it belongs, at the heart of Britain’s future. By investing in additional education and engagement activities – and by working with strategic partners – we hope to attract many more young people from a diverse range of backgrounds into the profession.”

Vital to the ambition of re-positioning engineering is the creation of a Forum for Engineering at the Academy’s building on Carlton House Terrace, also home to other national academies, including the Royal Society and British Academy. The £6.5 million re-development project will completely transform the building to provide a world class venue for engineers and all those interested in engineering to meet, collaborate and share their knowledge, becoming a focal point for independent, expert advice and practical action, for the well-being of the nation.

Sir John Parker, Chair of the making things better campaign, says “The Forum will influence both politicians and the public and become a place to showcase engineering solutions to world problems and promote excellence in engineering. It will be a place where we can inspire and educate students and teachers, helping to attract more talented young people from every background into engineering.”

Many major trusts and foundations and leading global engineering companies have already pledged support to the making things better Campaign – including significant contributions from BAE Systems plc, BP plc, Shell International Ltd and Petrofac [see notes to editor for details].

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. The Academy is delighted to acknowledge the early support of some of Britain’s best known companies for the campaign:

    BAE Systems

    BAE Systems has committed significant support to the Royal Academy of Engineering making things better Campaign, which will fund the Engineering Engagement Project.

    Part of a larger National Engineering Programme led by the Academy, the Engineering Engagement Project aims to widen participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by supporting teaching and learning in these areas at Key Stage 3.

    The project will provide:
    - Training for Engineering Diploma teachers

    - Online resources linked to BAE Systems’ £1.5M technology partnership with UK Sport

    - Funding for school science clubs

    - Training for science and engineering ambassadors, many being BAE Systems employees

    Through this activity the Academy and BAE Systems are working together to help teachers illustrate the part engineers play in society. As a result students will learn about the roles of engineers, what they create and how their ideas and expertise shape our world and improve our lives.

    In addition to the support of the Engineering Engagement Project, BAE Systems has also committed considerable support to the Big Bang Fair, being a lead sponsor from 2009 to 2011. The 2010 event takes place at Manchester Central; 10-13 March.

    "As Britain's largest employer of engineers, we place huge importance in ensuring that world class scientists and engineers are nurtured through the UK’s education system. Our work with the Royal Academy of Engineering on the Engineering Engagement Project is an important part of our annual £40 million investment in education and skills initiatives.”
    Dick Olver FREng, Chairman, BAE Systems

    BP plc

    BP has agreed a three year deal with the Academy to strengthen the engineering offer in further education in Britain. The safe and efficient design and operation of manufacturing facilities is vital to ensure Britain remains competitive in global markets.

    Providing the highest possible standard of engineering in further education is essential to equip the technicians, draughtsmen and operating personnel with the skills to deliver this responsibility.

    BP’s support will enable the Academy and its delivery partners to:

    - better support individual students in the transition into engineering further education,with particular focus on mathematics and career coaching

    - help further education colleges ensure that they have up-to-date and industrially relevant curricula

    - influence national policy on engineering further education, through the Academy-hosted Education for Engineering (E4E) group, which involves major UK engineering institutions and has a focus on engineering in further education.

    This support will be fundamental to enhancing engineering in further education in Britain and will bring much needed attention to this long under-valued area.

    Shell International Ltd.

    Shell are generously supporting two of the Academy’s major activities: the Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards and the Visiting Teaching Fellowship programme.

    The support of these programmes demonstrates Shell’s continuing commitment to developing excellent engineering talent and enables the Academy to fulfill its aim of increasing the yield of engineering graduates pursuing vital careers in industry.

    Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards

    - This is the Academy’s flagship awards programme for undergraduate engineers and helps them acquire the core skills to fulfill their potential and achieve leadership positions in industry.

    - Shell’s generous support has enabled the Academy to extend this year's Engineering Leadership Advanced Award Scheme to include non-UK MEng students for the first time, meaning up to 40 awards will be made to the best of best engineering talent, regardless of nationality.

    Visiting Teaching Fellowships

    The Visiting Teaching Fellowship Scheme exposes engineering undergraduates to current hands-on industrial practice

    - 10 young industrial engineers funded by Shell will share their cutting-edge, industrial knowledge and offer role model inspiration and practical careers advice.

    - Ultimately the undergraduate curriculum is enhanced as a result.

    - The first 5 Shell funded VTFs will be linked to Aberdeen University.

    “I am delighted that we are able to support these two Royal Academy of Engineering programmes. Engineers are critical to Shell’s business. It is important to us that undergraduate students have these sorts of opportunities open to them to help them develop into top-class engineers”.
    Malcolm Brinded FREng, Executive Director, Upstream International, Shell

    Petrofac Services Ltd

    Petrofac has joined forces with the Academy to take forward the concept of the Enhanced Graduate Engineer. The Petrofac Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowships will provide an exceptional opportunity for graduate engineers wishing to pursue applied technical roles, mainly in fields related to oil and gas.

    With the scheme successfully launched in 2009, the first cohort of Petrofac Royal Academy of Engineering Fellows are currently studying for their Masters degrees. Each has been awarded £9,000 towards their study, as well as additional learning and development opportunities provided by Petrofac. They have been assigned a company sourced major project, a mentor and work placement opportunities and, on completion of their degree, may be offered [post-graduate] employment at Petrofac.

    “The Academy plays a pivotal role in the promotion of engineering; both in terms of its broad application but also as a career choice for today’s school leavers and graduates, and I am delighted that we are able to directly support these efforts through the creation of the Petrofac Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowships.”
    Ayman Asfari, Group Chief Executive, Petrofac

For more information please contact

Press Office Jane Sutton