The government has reported a rise in the number of children who wish to pursue careers in engineering.
A survey conducted for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) found the number of 11 to 14 year-olds considering a career in engineering has risen by six per cent. The number of girls thinking about becoming engineers also rose by six per cent - a significant figure for a profession that needs to recruit more women.
The increased popularity of the subject follows Tomorrow's Engineers week, a collaborative project between the Tomorrow's Engineers programme and BIS. It was launched with the aim of informing young people, particularly girls, about the exciting careers available in the engineering profession.
Tomorrow's Engineers Week was launched following the Perkins Review of Engineering Skills, which focused on the need to inspire young people during education and improve the engineering skills supply system to make it responsive to the demands of current and future industries.
Engineers require a strong foundation in maths and science, particularly physics. However, statistics show the number of youngsters choosing such subjects, post-16, is relatively low, especially among women.
Revisions to the curriculum and teacher development are being made to address the problem. In December, the governemnt announced the launch of a new vocational programme for 14 to 16 year-olds. New courses have been drawn up with the input of the Royal Academy of Engineering, as well as companies such as JCB, Rolls-Royce and Siemens.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: "As a country we excel in hi-tech industries but we need the engineers to maintain our competitive advantage. Government alone cannot solve this. We need to work with industry, universities, colleges and schools to keep momentum and guarantee the pipeline of talent so that businesses are not disadvantaged."
A number of initiatives have been launched by BIS to address the shortage of engineers. These include £30 million made available to employers to remedy skills shortages in sectors with specific needs and £250,000 of seed funding to enable Tomorrow’s Engineers to accelerate the nationwide roll-out of its employer engagement programme.
Posted by Harriet McGowan