Let’s improve engineering outreach today, tomorrow, and forever

Jul 4, 2022

By Dr Isabel DiVanna, Director of Business Development and Partnerships at EngineeringUK

Most of us in our careers and day-to-day professional lives are enthusiastically busy trying to find solutions to problems, and we pride ourselves of our ability to do it. And that’s fantastic. What takes real leadership is not to think of solutions but to harvest all sources of knowledge – which include learning from others – to make this process the most effective and efficient as possible.

In The Tomorrow’s Engineers Code, a key pledge is to work in collaboration. This means listening to each other (not just to react, but to understand, and to learn!), identifying what cross-collaboration and cross-pollination ideas are likely to work, and how to plan for future activity learning from the past and improving the ‘how to’. It’s not about ‘getting your way’ as a company, because just ‘getting your way’ will never deliver the systemic impact that is needed for engineering and tech companies to thrive – today, tomorrow and forever! It’s about looking at the bigger picture, thinking carefully about the sector’s strategy and collaborating to achieve this.

Joining The Code is a brilliant way to share insight and for organisations working in and around the engineering sector to work toward common goals to increase the diversity and number of young people entering engineering careers.

Working in unity to inspire tomorrow’s engineers

Our Corporate Members are extremely apt at deploying their knowledge to share with each other to identify successful experiments as well as learn from less successful ones. Through active collaboration, an apt and thoughtful consideration of commonalities of challenges as well as specific circumstances which need considering, our Corporate Members – working with us – are leading the way STEM and engineering outreach works in the UK. With our members and supporters, we engage over 40,000 young people in the UK, over 1,000 schools and teachers, through a network that is fragmented and difficult to coordinate.

Take for example The Big Bang Fair, and how our supporters and sponsors work with each other to maximise the learning experience for young persons. And programmes like Robotics Challenge, which is generously funded by 3 very different partners whose aims align in most areas, but also diverge in others. Sharing and complementing each other’s agendas is vital not just to skills development, but to local community engagement, to working towards net zero, to energising equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector – and beyond.

Doing is not enough, of course. To maximise the impact of doing, comes the sharing, the communication about what has worked well and what would have been better if. EngineeringUK’s Corporate Members share case studies and experiences to help others make decisions and improve their STEM engagement strategies and the activities they deliver. They use, as we do, a multitude of channels which best suit the content and the message, and which are interactive to foster further discussion.

We need to listen and learn from each other

Thought leadership is about inspiring, challenging and intriguing audiences, about proposing approaches which effectively tackle problems and improve society for everyone. Real leadership means collaboration, listening, learning from each other, iterating and improving outcomes, and making sure that we are constantly striving for improvement. The smarter the audience, the greater the need to take a step back to consider and assess if the ways we do things are indeed the best and most effective. When the whole engineering community comes together for Tomorrow’s Engineers Live on 11 July, we will see a real effort to share and contribute and to deliver inspiration to the young people we want to attract into the sector. I can’t imagine anything more inspiring than leading by example.

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