Tomorrow's Engineers Live 2024: Inspiring the next generation

Mar 27, 2024

Shaffra Gray-Read, Tomorrow's Engineers Live 2024 panellist

By Chloe Franklin, Marketing Communications Manager, EngineeringUK

I was inspired to write this blog after attending my first Tomorrow's Engineers Live event in February. The day focused on helping the audience roll their sleeves up and actively do more to engage and encourage all young people into engineering and technology careers.

More than 110 delegates, including engineering and tech industry experts, educators and role models, gathered to share their knowledge and passions. Everyone recognises the deep need to create a more inclusive workforce through engaging STEM outreach experiences. But how can we achieve this? How can roles in engineering and tech become more attractive and accessible for our young people?

Diversity and inclusion A major focus was on ‘real’ models. The phrase 'you can't be what you can't see' struck a chord. Creating welcoming environments for everyone should be the norm: we heard from deaf and autistic ambassadors about the importance of support in their roles. Organisations like Tech She Can are empowering young women to see themselves in tech careers. Some of the breakout sessions talked about being 'real', showing the full person, not just the role, not just the skills required.

Practical strategies Attendees joined breakout sessions overflowing with practical tips. Learn how to secure funding for your outreach programmes, get buy-in from senior leadership, adopt new ways of encouraging young people into engineering within your organisation. Always measure the impact of your efforts to help you learn and grow. Use all the resources available to you – they're often free and come from case studies, evidence or tried and tested activities.

The possibilities in the future Focus on, and highlight the importance of, the positive impact of engineering and technology. Avoid doom and gloom. Speakers discussed using virtual reality experiences and curriculum-linked projects to spark young people's interest in solving real-world challenges.

Collaboration is key Building a strong outreach community was a central theme. Platforms like The Code and Neon connect organisations to share resources and best practices. EngineeringUK's Chief Executive Dr Hilary Leevers impressed upon the audience to build and learn from each other – why start from scratch when we can work together?

Is it unusual to have two key note speakers in one day? I enjoyed both. Yewande Akinola, Design Engineer and Innovation Consultant, emphasised the need for creativity and fresh perspectives in engineering. James Dornor, founder of Driven By Us, shared his personal journey and offered tips for effective outreach, including a focus on underprivileged communities. They both used their stories to resonate.

The afternoon included some short lightning talks: stimulating presentations on diverse topics such as integrating ethics into engineering education, getting girls into electronics, having a clear outreach programme and leveraging apprenticeships. We heard from the RNLI, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK Electronics Skills Foundation and the Chair of The Code.


Looking forward

If the spirit of collaboration and the will to achieve can be maximised from this year's event, then the future of engineering and technology is bright. The event concluded with a call to action for continued collaboration. By working together, we can create a powerful force to inspire and equip the next generation. 


Want to get involved? Here are some resources to get you started

Tomorrow’s Engineers
If you're keen to get the most from your engineering and tech engagement activity check Tomorrow's Engineers. It provides information and guidance to support you with resources drawn from across the STEM community. All designed to improve collective impact.

The Code
A community of more than 300 like-minded organisations – from large and small businesses to professional engineering institutions and educational providers – committed to boosting engagement in engineering and technology careers through STEM outreach to all young people. Free to join, signatories commit to 4 pledges. Supporters can join The Code too.

Helps primary and secondary teachers as well as careers leaders introduce their students to future STEM careers, raise their aspirations and explore the excitement of engineering and technology through brilliant activities, inspiring case studies and supportive resources.

Volunteer at The Big Bang Fair
The Big Bang Fair is the UK’s biggest annual celebration of STEM for young people. Every year there are opportunities to volunteer, so you can support your team with their volunteering days or personal objectives. Seeing first-hand the impact of STEM inspiration activities on young people will push you to do more and more! 


It's worth noting that the Institution of Civil Engineers provided the venue for the day, collaborating with EngineeringUK to deliver a great and well-received event.

This blog merely scratches the surface of the whole day. If you're interested in finding out more, read the full summary. It includes a full list of everyone who spoke on the day and an overview of every session.

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