@GeneralElectric (GE) has announced a five-year, $3.5 million (£2.5m) investment in the UK as part of its global Next Engineers programme, to increase the diversity of young people entering engineering. The UK programme will be based in Staffordshire, where GE operates three sites that design, develop, and service products used throughout the power and renewable energy industries.
Next Engineers aims to inspire more than 3,500 local students aged 13-18, providing first-hand experiences of engineering, and awarding financial support to pursue further education in engineering.
Kevin O’Neill, President & CEO, GE UK, said:
“Our growing global economy will require more engineers to solve society’s most pressing challenges – from clean energy to quality healthcare and more sustainable flight. Next Engineers will provide a platform for Staffordshire’s young people from different backgrounds to bring their unique perspectives to engineering and help address these important issues, enthusing and introducing them to the hands-on learning experiences they will need to pursue engineering careers.”
Staffordshire is one of four global locations so far announced by GE, joining Johannesburg, South Africa, along with Cincinnati and Greenville in the United States.
Theo Clarke MP, Stafford, said:
“Having an initiative like Next Engineers coming to our community is fantastic for young people locally. We were already fortunate to have a top global employer like GE in the region, but local students now have the opportunity to explore viable engineering careers that they had previously thought were unattainable. It really is an amazing opportunity for our young people.”
Next Engineers will offer one-hour sessions and hands-on activities for the youngest (Year 9) students. Week long Engineering Camps will be run during the school holidays for those in Year 10. There will also be an Engineering Academy providing three-years of out of school coaching for Year 11-13 students. Those accepted onto engineering apprenticeships or engineering degrees will also receive a funding contribution from the GE Foundation.
Students in Staffordshire wanting to apply for the Engineering Academy, or teachers wanting to know more about how the Next Engineers programme can benefit them, their students and their schools, should visit to learn more.
The Staffordshire investment is part of a $100 million, long-term, international Next Engineers programme which GE Foundation unveiled earlier this year, designed to reach more than 85,000 students across 25 locations globally over the next decade.
With 125 years of experience in the U.K. and Ireland, GE employs approximately 9,000 employees across the region. Next Engineers is a signature programme of the GE Foundation, an independent charitable organisation funded by GE. The GE Foundation is partnering with MyKindaFuture, the UK’s leading HR tech company specialising in engaging and onboarding underrepresented talent, to implement Next Engineers in the UK.
Next Engineers involves three programmes to engage students and attract them into engineering:
- Engineering Discovery for students aged 13-14 (Year 9) – designed to increase awareness of engineering as a viable career through multiple, short, one-hour exploratory sessions and hands-on activities – both in the classroom and in the community - connecting students to real engineers.
- Engineering Camp for students aged 14-15 (Year 10) – a week-long immersive camp experience during school holidays. Students will interact with experienced engineering faculty and staff, complete design challenges solving real-world problems, and interact directly with professional engineers and business leaders.
- Engineering Academy for students aged 15-18 (Years 11-13) – devised to guide and encourage students to pursue an engineering career path. Engineering Academy is a three-year programme for secondary school students helping them learn, think and act like engineers. This will provide 80 hours per year of out-of-school coaching, including longer challenges, a final year project, career coaching to expose students to different engineering pathways, and further education-readiness workshops. Students accepted onto engineering apprenticeships or engineering degrees will also receive a funding contribution from the GE Foundation.