From education to employment

fforwm and Careers Wales Express Engineering Delight

Engineering Week, the event hosted by fifteen FE colleges across Wales and attended by students from more than seventy schools, has been warmly welcomed by the executives of the organising partners.

The week saw 1,200 students aged 13 and 14 taking part, allowing them to try their hands at various engineering tasks. At one college, for instance, they were allowed to create electrical circuits, construct a land rover kit, and to make either an electronic radio or a talking calculator. They also had the chance to take home a prize for their school from the week’s events, that goes to show just how much FE has to offer in engaging young learners from across the nation.

fforwm Chief Executive Expresses Hope

One of the key organising partners was fforwm, the national organisation representing all 25 FE colleges in Wales. Their Chief Executive, John Graystone, spoke of his hopes for the week, saying: “I hope that Engineering Week Wales helped to show young people the diversity of engineering and what is on offer to them. The pupils were given the opportunity to plan, discuss, agree, design and create a product that they saw through from start to finish as part of a team.”

He said that the week represents a “real achievement in a very short space of time,” and said that the chances are good that it will be repeated next year. “It was great to hear that school teachers who brought pupils to the colleges for Engineering Week Wales have been asking for Engineering Week to be repeated next year,” he said. “That is testament to the success of this first ever Engineering Week Wales.”

Careers Wales See Skills Gap

Careers Wales, offering careers advice and guidance in Wales, sees this as meeting a challenge facing Wales. Lesley Rees, Executive Director, Careers Wales Association, said: “Wales needs more engineers, with more young people from across the whole of the skills range taking up engineering as a career. Engineering jobs use state-of-the-art technology, are well paid and offer good career progression.”

Lesley Rees went on to comment on the image problem of the engineering sector, saying that “many of our highly able young people turn their noses up at the thought of engineering because of persistent negative stereotypes of the profession.” Lesley continued: “Engineering Week Waless taster sessions gave the young people an idea of what people do in real engineering jobs. It provided a first-hand experience of what their future career could be and what they need to do to get there.”

The Welsh Assembly Governments Vocational Skills Champion, Peter McGowan, agreed, saying: “I was really impressed with what I saw during Engineering Week Wales. I saw a real commitment to the needs of the learners and fantastic facilities. The pupils talked to employers and engineers and learnt about jobs in the real world, worked in teams, improved their communication skills and engaged in problem solving.

“Welsh employers are telling us that skills such as communication, problem solving, team working and leadership are often proving to be lacking across all sectors. And technical and practical skills are lacking in just over half of establishments reporting skill gaps. Our only future lies in encouraging more youngsters of all abilities to develop their skills and Engineering Week Wales helped to make this happen.”

Jethro Marsh

Will Engineering Week happen again? Tell us either way in the FE Blog

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