Engineers are a vital force in driving progress. Their work helps to create functional and advanced societies, and cutting-edge engineering is at the heart of scientific research.
And yet, not enough young people – particularly girls – are choosing to pursue careers in engineering. This shortage of budding engineers is a real worry, and organisations like the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) are committed to finding a solution.
The IET’s Engineering Open House Day is an initiative aimed at showcasing the exciting career opportunities that are open to young people.
New IET research has found that 74% of 4-12 year old kids in the South East don’t find STEM subjects boring, contrary to popular opinion, and with the wealth of technical gadgets available today, the younger generation is becoming increasingly plugged in when it comes to understanding how these items work.
Events such as the Engineering Open House Day seek to translate that enthusiasm for STEM into real consideration of a career in the industry.
The event, which took place on 29 July 2016, is the UK’s largest celebration of workplace engineers. Alongside the Science and Technology Facilities Council, Diamond took part in the campaign by opening its doors to one hundred young people, who enjoyed the unique opportunity to meet leading engineers and see behind the scenes of life in the industry.
The event proved to be extremely popular with both the young visitors and the staff who helped out by showcasing their day-to-day work.
Amanda Brummitt, a Mechanical Project Engineer in STFC’s Technology Department, said: “I really enjoy inspiring young people from all backgrounds to show them the many ways that engineering can be fun and exciting. The World needs more engineers and if events like today can inspire just one person to take up a career in this field then it’s been worth it”.
Professor Brian Cox, who is supporting the IET’s Engineering Open House Day so that children and parents can see for themselves how engineers and scientists make a difference day in, day out, commented:
“It’s a nonsense that careers in science, technology and engineering are boring or only for boffins – and it annoys me that people still have these perceptions. My love of science started at school and from being in a pop band – when an inspired physics teacher helped me make a divider circuit that meant my drum machine could connect with my keyboard.
“I think it’s really important that young kids and their parents can get an insight into what engineering is all about – and understand its connection with so many things that interest them like music, entertainment and space discovery. We need to encourage children’s creativity and imagination at school and at home and to make them think about the huge impact they can have in the world through science and technology. And we need to help parents understand more about engineering and science, including making sure they can recognise qualities in their children that might lead to them being good engineers.”
If we can showcase the exciting and creative careers on offer in engineering, then we can help to overcome outdated stereotypes that turn young people off a career in STEM.
By providing young people with a glimpse of life as an engineer at one of the world’s leading science facilities, Diamond hopes to inspire the next-generation of engineers with the opportunity to be part of pioneering and revolutionary research.