From education to employment

FE Colleges Enjoy Training Boon in Engineering and Welcome Plaudits

The first ever “Engineering Week” in Wales was launched last week at 15 FE Colleges, and received plaudits from schools and colleges from across the country.

The event saw some 1,200 students aged 13 and 14 from more than 70 different schools taking part. They were afforded a wide range of experiences, across the fields of aeronautics, mechanical engineering, manufacturing and electronic engineering. The competitive spirits of the participants were fed by the chance to win the prize of the week and return to their schools as champions.


The event forms part of a continuing campaign to encourage young people to become interested in careers in engineering, and comes at a time when participation in the sciences and mathematics at schools is falling off. The range of different experiences on offer reflected the different areas within which engineering jobs can be found in the real world.

At one of the participating FE Colleges, the pupils were allowed to create electrical circuits, construct a land rover kit, and even to make either an electronic radio or a talking calculator. Each of the students was given an information pack full of profiles of engineers to take home. The pack contained profiles of people within the sector, from apprentices to senior managers and the millionaire entrepreneurs in a bid to keep the inspiration of the week’s events alive.

As has been mentioned before, it appears that engineering and scientific subjects are not as popular as they once were. Alongside the fall in participation in language skills training amongst young people, it is an area of great concern in light of initiatives to make Britain truly competitive in the global economy. Events such as this, and the recent conference from language training body CILT, are essential if we are to truly move forward in developing the skills set of the workforce of tomorrow. After all, learning also has to engage the learner and not simply be good for them.

Jethro Marsh

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