From education to employment

Top tips for inspiring young people to choose engineering as a career

EngineeringUK has released a new free guide to help STEM professionals and ambassadors to deliver exciting and varied activities to help encourage young people to consider engineering as a career choice.

Getting the message across’ is a top tips guide for anyone who provides engineering outreach activities in schools.

It encourages STEM professionals and ambassadors to plan inspiring and impactful activities by providing real-world examples of engineering matched to what students might be learning in the classroom.

Engineering cuts across all life from addressing some of society’s pressing challenges like climate change to building and designing new technology like mobile phones or apps for improving health and wellbeing.

The guide suggests that making links between the skills involved in the subjects young people study – such as maths, science, D&T, computing, geography, art and languages – and exciting job roles in engineering can really help students realise the value of these subjects for the future and switch them on to the idea of a career in engineering.

The guide, created with the support of the Tomorrow’s Engineers Careers Working Group, helps those delivering outreach activities reinforce what makes an impactful talk or activity such as what factors motivate students when thinking about a career.

For example, research for Tomorrow’s Engineers Week suggests 90% of young people dream of a career that tackles social issues, so including examples of how engineers use their skills to solve issues like creating renewable energy, developing new cure for diseases or tackling homelessness might be of interest.  

While the guide encourages the person leading the activity to be authentic and build outreach activities using their personal experience, it also reminds them that there isn’t just one route into becoming an engineer. It prompts them to be inclusive in their approach by encouraging everyone from different backgrounds to participate and involving students who might have additional needs in the outreach activity.

‘Getting the message across’ includes real-life examples from global engineering firms Siemens and Atkins.

‘SeeWomen’ from Siemens highlights a project to improve the visibility of female role models in STEM with a view to improving gender disparity in engineering.

The ‘YES! Programme’ at Atkins is a work experience scheme for year 8 students and is run with gender parity in mind and encourages schools to approve applications with 50/50 gender split.    

Eleanor Eyre, Head of Careers at EngineeringUK, said:

“Engineers transform the way we live. Their work cuts across every conceivable area, from renewable energy to medical technology to disasters response and space exploration.

“Recent research from EngineeringUK suggest the UK faces an engineering skills shortage, with 203,000 roles requiring engineering skills needed to be filled annually through to 2024 so it’s vital that we nurture engineers of the future and demonstrate that through a career in engineering they could change the course of history and have an impact on a global scale.

“‘Getting the message across’ is a free resource that supports STEM professionals and qualified engineers to achieve the greatest impact through their activity or talk to help them connect with the school audience to inspire the next generation of engineers.”

Gemma Taylor, Technology CPD Lead at STEM Learning UK, said:

“When running inspirational engineering activities for young people we need to make sure that the content supports the learning taking place in schools and colleges. ‘Getting the Message Across’ provides additional support to the thousands of STEM Ambassadors that are working every week to inspire young people and illustrate the wide range of careers available in engineering.”

The top tips guide for STEM professionals and ambassadors is the latest free resource from EngineeringUK – other guides include a work experience guide for companies to plan an inclusive work experience or placement for students who are interested in getting a closer look at what engineers do on a day-to-day basis.

Getting the message across’ is a free top tips guide from EngineeringUK for STEM professionals and engineering ambassadors who perform outreach activities for young people. It was developed with the support of the Tomorrow’s Engineers Careers Working Group (CWG). The CWG includes representatives from the Institution of Civil Engineers, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Tomorrow’s Engineers careers resources provide clear, consistent guidance for young people and their teachers and parents. Developed in conjunction with the professional engineering institutions, these resources explain what engineering is all about, the huge variety of roles available and the university and apprenticeship routes into those engineering roles. Resources are available to download or order online

EngineeringUK is a not-for-profit organisation, which works in partnership with the engineering community to promote the vital role of engineers and engineering and to inspire the next generation. EngineeringUK leads engagement programmes The Big Bang and Tomorrow’s Engineers and produces a body of research including the biennial State of Engineering report.

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