11 Jul Opening young minds to careers in engineering
For a few years now we’ve been advocating STEM subjects for both study time and play. With engineering a critical part of the UK economy, luckily we’re not the only organisation pushing the message home that more inspiration is needed to convince young people to open up their minds to engineering careers.
Earlier this month, the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET) announced a series of open days taking place across the country. On Friday 26th July 2019, sites spanning Scotland, Manchester, Doncaster, Peterborough, London and Kent to name just a few, will be opening their doors to adults and children to demonstrate what the world of engineering has to offer in the form of workshops, tours, challenges and question and answer sessions.
Alison Carr, Director of Governance and Policy at the IET explains, “It’s a chance for parents and children to look behind the scenes at places that you may not expect there’s any engineering – places like the National Theatre, Victoria & Albert museum, and some places where you might expect to see some engineering but you actually get to see some of the detail. Parents and children get to see why engineering is so important in these venues.”
Engineering a brighter future
The day has been designed to encourage parents to support their children in choosing careers in engineering and technology but could this be too little too late? In 2018 61% of businesses surveyed in the CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey expressed a lack of confidence that there will be enough people available in the future with the necessary skills to fill their high-skilled job vacancies. Furthermore, the UK’s economy depends on these jobs being filled. With 25% of the UK’s total GDP generated by the engineering sector in 2015 (£420.5 billion) according to Engineering UK, a dwindling rate of engineering graduates doesn’t spell great tidings.
To remedy this outcome, we’re committed to supporting any organisation that’s pushing engineering careers as the way forward for the next generation. Although we believe it will take more than just a few companies – more likely the combined efforts of government, education, businesses and engineering enthusiasts alike – we want to highlight the amazing opportunities that are presenting themselves at the end of this month at a site near you in the hope that these will motivate some young minds to pursue a job in engineering.
We’ve listed some of the most fun below so hurry and get your families signed up – the spaces will fill fast:
Brighton Toy Museum
Booking: 01273 749 494
Description: One of the world’s greatest toy museums, it spans a set of Victorian cellars covering four thousand square feet. The day will include creating hovercraft using household items, an activity suitable for children aged between 7 and 11.
The National Museum of Computing
Location: Milton Keynes
Description: The National Museum of Computing is home to the world’s largest collection of historic computers including the Turing-Welchman Bombe and Colossus of the 1940s through to the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The rise of personal computing and mobile computing exhibitions are also on display with the recent unveiling of an Engima cipher machine used in the Second World War making this a must-see day trip this summer.
Booking: Included with museum admission
Description: Telling the story of one of the world’s great engineering dynasties, the Brunel Museum includes a grand entrance hall where a young Brunel threw the world’s first underground concert party in 1827. What a raver! In the lower gallery there’s an exhibition about Brunel’s greatest ship, the SS Great Britain, which set the design standards for today’s modern shipping. Activities on the day will include bridge building using a range of materials including straws, wooden blocks, string, newspaper and card. The challenge will involve making a bridge that will span a gap of at least one metre between two low tables while leaving room for ships to pass underneath.
BBC Birmingham Tours
Times: 11.00am-12pm or 2pm-3pm
Description: You or your child fancy yourself as the next newsreader on BBC News? Visitors will take part in a tour of the BBC Blue Room, BBC Broadcast Support Centre and Midlands Today News Studio and TV Production Gallery. Visitors will also get to chat to staff about engineering and technology careers at the BBC.
Southend Tech Festival
Description: Southend Tech Festival collaborates across various sectors and includes Raspberry Jams, hackathons, coding, makerspace and Smart City events. Attendees will learn about coding and digital making with the Raspberry Pi and Microbit, how to create music, digital animations and games, train an AI using machine learning and interface with sensors and electronics.
Armagh Observatory and Planetarium
Location: Northern Ireland
Booking: First come, first served basis, no need to pre-book
Description: Research at Armagh ranges from the study of objects within the Solar System through to distant galaxies. Astronomers use ground based telescopes and satellites and high performance computing to simulate observations and compute models. The day will include a Rocket Workshop during which families will learn how to make a stable, aerodynamic rocket and then take it outside for launch.
To see the full list of opportunities during the nationwide Engineering Open House Day, click here. And don’t forget to tweet us with your pictures from the events using #IETOpenDay.