Action plan  informed by students taken to Parliament as part of the This Is Engineering campaign

The Royal Academy of Engineering, in collaboration with EngineeringUK, has today launched a 10 point action plan in Parliament to help inspire future generations of engineers. The plan, part of the This is Engineering campaign, is informed by students (aged between 13-16 years old), and has been developed in response to the significant skills shortage in engineering – the latest figures from EngineeringUK indicate an annual demand for 124,000 engineers and a shortfall of 59,000.

The action plan calls for more businesses to pledge to run “taster days”– a shorter version of work experience - to help students understand the varied role of engineering and for the government to incorporate “taster days” into the upcoming careers strategy. 

Following new research conducted by YouGov that shows that teenagers are most likely to turn to Google (52%) for career inspiration, ahead of their parents (41%) and teachers (37%), the plan calls for more careers information to be hosted online and a focused effort by government and industry to provide better information on Further Education and careers opportunities for technicians.

The report also urges politicians, education providers and the wider business community to support and promote local career fairs and for politicians and businesses to proactively champion GCSE Design and Technology (D&T) courses in their local areas. According to 2017 figures, D&T has disappeared from nearly half of schools.

This Is Engineering is a new, multi-year campaign to give more young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to explore careers in engineering, and to raise awareness of the breadth of opportunities available in the profession. Launched in the government’s Year of Engineering, it is being backed by a consortium of major engineering companies.

Vicky Ford MP

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP said: 

“Engineering is an exciting and varied career that can open up all sorts of opportunities. It is great to see the Royal Academy of Engineering highlighting what needs to done to encourage the engineers of the future.

“We are determined to boost engineering across the country. This year our Year of Engineering campaign is highlighting the amazing opportunities these fascinating subjects can give. Since becoming Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships I have been fascinated to see that engineering touches almost every aspect of our lives, from managing our environment, to sending satellites into space.”

Vicky Ford MP, who sponsored the event at Parliament and is a member of the Science and Technology Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee, said:

“Engineering today is anything but dull. Young people with engineering skills are in huge demand. It is a national disgrace that we have the lowest level of women engineers of any EU country. The evidence shows that women who become engineers  are better paid, have greater job opportunities and are happier in their career choice than the vast majority of their peers. What’s not to want!” 

Stephen Metcalfe MP, HM Government Envoy for the Year of Engineering says:

“It’s really interesting to see these ideas from young people published today – they are clearly looking for exciting, fulfilling careers and engineering offers a multitude of options. Students are clearly keen to learn more about employment through work experience and taster days and I encourage engineering companies to open their doors to potential new engineers.”

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering, comments:

“The action plan presented today outlines a number of recommendations for both businesses and government that would reduce the chronic skills and diversity shortfall that the engineering profession faces and help open the door for many more young people to careers that shape the future – from developing the next smartphone to creating medical devices that will save lives.

“Engineering is essential to the future growth of the UK economy and underpins so much of our day to day lives. We look forward to working with government and industry to take forward these recommendations.”

The 10 point action plan was developed based on areas of common agreement between students (aged between 13-16 years old) following the Future Collective event in Manchester. Around 60 students, aged 13 to 16, attended the event at the Sharp Project to work with engineers in industries not usually associated with the sector on a series of interactive challenges.

More information about the campaign is available at www.ThisisEngineering.org.uk and @ThisIsEng

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Notes for Editors

Royal Academy of Engineering

As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.

We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession. 

We have three strategic priorities:

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses
  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge
  • Position engineering at the heart of society

We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals.

Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale.

#ThisIsEngineering

This is Engineering is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, in collaboration with EngineeringUK, and with the generous support of corporate partners:

Strategic partner

EngineeringUK

Founding Principal partners

BAE Systems

National Grid

Principal partners

Anglo American

BP

Centrica

Rolls Royce

Siemens

Shell UK

Sponsors

Mott MacDonald

WSP