Dec 2, 2021
Dr Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, has joined forces with over 150 world-leading engineers, scientists and technology giants to urge the government to help tackle the UK’s engineering skills shortage by embedding engineering into current primary school learning and support #EngineeringKidsFutures.
Professor Danielle George MBE, Immediate Past President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and #EngineeringKidsFutures ambassador, has sent an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by Dr Hilary Leevers, as well as more than 150 others including engineers from Corporate Members of EngineeringUK: John Quinn, Principal Software engineer at Siemens, Ashley Smith, LNG Terminal Electrical engineer at National Grid, and Andrew Smyth, Presenter and Aerospace engineer at Rolls-Royce. This letter calls on the government to work together with educators and industry to develop practical support for teachers of our youngest children and embed engineering in their existing STEM learning.
Invest in the engineering innovators of the future
Children eagerly learn about science and maths, but the connection to engineering - the link between these subjects, their purpose and application to the world in which we live - is not currently being made. We need to ensure there are clearer learning outcomes for these subjects linked to engineering.
The letter signatories stress the importance of the government joining this campaign and committing to securing our future as a nation of innovators. Innovators whose skills will be more crucial than ever in the coming decades as we tackle the global challenges posed by achieving net zero and meeting our COP26 pledges.
Reports from the IET this summer estimate a shortfall of over 173,000 workers in the STEM sector: an average of 10 unfilled roles per business in the UK. What is more, the Institution’s latest Skills Survey identifies that half (49%) of engineering businesses are experiencing difficulties in the skills available to them when trying to recruit.
Embedding engineering into primary school learning could help secure the future engineering workforce.
Professor Danielle George MBE commented on the campaign: “To ‘build back better’ and fully embrace the ‘green industrial revolution’ promised by the government it is essential to start with solid foundations. By adding more focus on misunderstood terms like engineering and technology, where we know there is a perception problem, it will help young people from all backgrounds learn vital engineering and tech skills early on and increase their career aspirations.
“This focus and support for schools is fundamental if we want to futureproof the next generation of engineers. And these benefits extend far beyond the classroom – from higher earnings to better job satisfaction, our research shows that those in STEM careers can hit life goals such as financial independence much sooner than their peers.”
Read the open letter to the government.
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