South Derbyshire MP, Heather Wheeler, has pledged her support to a national campaign aiming to get more young people into engineering.
The Year of Engineering, which launched on Monday 15th 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.
Prior to its launch in January, an event was held in Parliament on Wednesday 6 December which was jointly hosted by Government and the Institution for Engineering and Technology (IET). The event marked the publication of the annual Skills Survey report – which looks at the skills challenges faced by engineering and technology employers in the UK.
The commitment comes as the UK faces an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates a year, with half of companies in the sector saying the shortage is having a significant impact on productivity and growth. By bringing young people from all backgrounds face to face with engineering experiences and role models, the campaign aims to showcase the creativity and innovation of engineering careers and widen the pool of young people who consider the profession, diversifying a workforce that is 91% male and 94% white.
More than 1000 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.
Commenting on the campaign, Heather Wheeler MP said:
“I am very pleased to add my support to this important campaign.
The UK’s impending departure from the EU will bring exciting opportunities from around the world but we must make sure that our businesses are equipped with the right staff, with the right skills.
Addressing the significant lack of graduates in engineering will put us on the right track and it is vital that we get the message across that a career in engineering is something all young people should consider. This is incredibly important locally for our area and I am pleased how many of our hugely successful engineering firms are involved in this campaign.”