Engineering could be one of the most poorly understood STEM careers, with new research from EngineeringUK showing that over three quarters (76%) of young people aged 11 – 19 do not know a lot about what those working in engineering do – and this could have far-reaching implications for all of us.
Indeed, according to the World Economic Forum, there are many engineering roles that will be crucial in positively shaping our future society and protecting our environment. However, the UK has an annual shortfall of up to 59,000 engineers every year, and research shows that the majority of young people aged 11 – 19 ‘probably or definitely’ do not want to become an engineer (52%).
Their parents need support in developing a greater understanding of engineering as well: 72% of parents do not know a lot about what people working in the profession do, and yet 63% of 11 – 16-year olds would consider going to their parents for careers advice.
The World Economic Forum has identified a number of jobs that will be in demand in the future and are crucial to shaping the world we live in for the better – and many of these important roles involve engineering:
While the research shows 42% of young people aged 11 – 19 said that ‘making a difference’ or ‘having an impact’ would be an important factor to them when deciding upon a career, almost half had not ever thought about becoming an engineer.
With an ambition to turn engineering from one of the most poorly understood, to one of the best understood and in-demand careers, the Royal Academy of Engineering is launching This is Engineering Day on the 6th November as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week. This is Engineering Day is a new national awareness day to increase understanding of what an engineer is and to celebrate the roles that will contribute to shaping our futures.
Hayaatun Sillem, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “Engineering and technology play an incredible role in shaping the world around us and in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges, from providing a sustainable supply of food, water and clean energy, to advancing healthcare, and keeping us safe and secure. We know that young people increasingly want to tackle these issues and make a difference in the world, but unfortunately the lack of understanding around engineering is stopping them from exploring careers that will enable them to do this.
“This matters because we face an estimated shortfall of up to 59,000 engineers each year in the UK, and there is a pressing need to diversify our engineering workforce since only 12% of professional engineers are female and less than 9% are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. That’s why we’re making 6 November This is Engineering Day, to raise awareness of what an engineer is and celebrate those that are shaping the world we live in.”