The Government and industry are on a mission to tackle a major engineering skills gap and to inspire the next generation of engineers. This week is the official launch of the Year of Engineering, a government campaign aimed at raising the profile of engineering amongst 7 – 16 year olds and to encourage more young people to consider engineering as a career. Throughout 2018, organisations will be coming together to tackle the skills gap and encourage more young people into the sector by giving them, their families and teachers an opportunity to ‘take a closer look’ at engineering.
Yesterday, Tuesday 16th January, EDT delivered an all-girls First Edition event at Plumstead Manor School with 120 Year 7 girls, supported by RAF who are particularly passionate about programmes that support and promote more girls into engineering. The Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Margot James, also attended the event to show her support and address the importance of engineering and STE(A)M related subjects.
Margot James commented:
"It was fantastic to see first-hand how varied and exciting careers in engineering can be, with talented young people demonstrating the opportunities in robotics, cyber security and digital skills as part of our Year of Engineering Campaign. Engineering is open to everyone, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and social background, and I encourage all students to consider a future career in the field."
Julie Feest, Chief Executive of EDT highlighted the importance of the digital aspect of engineering,
"The Year of Engineering is challenging false ideas about engineering. EDT works to make sure that even young people early in their school careers start learning the skills in engineering, science and technology that they will need in the future and receive the information that they need about careers in the 4th Industrial Revolution, which will be in full swing as they come to working age.In particular, the nature of the 4th Industrial Revolution will mean that digital must be an important part of the portfolio of skills that engineers will need for the future. Successful careers will increasingly rely on a breadth of expertise as different disciplines are required to co-operate to create new products and services that have not even been thought of yet. It may well be that in depth knowledge of narrow subject areas becomes less prized and artificial intelligence becomes able to take over such roles.”
The Year 7 girls undertook a number of activities including:
Code Breakers – a cyber detective style exercise to introduce the principles of coding. The students undertake a ‘Cluedo’ style mystery in which they must identify a hacker and uncover the details of their next cyber-crime.
Robotics Challenge – the students plan a robotised mission to get supplies to survivors of a natural disaster. The teams will work out the best route for their robot to use and code accordingly, they will need to measure the route and avoid danger zones.
Events such as First Edition, encourages young people, especially girls to know that there are a variety of jobs in engineering, as well as give them the opportunity to learn with first-hand practical activities that are different to those from the classroom environment.