It’s Our Year: hoorah!!

Posted on 01/01/2018 by IED

Might 2018 be a time when engineering finally takes its place in the spotlight once again?

My apologies, if you feel that I am on something of a ‘theme’ in my recent Views. But, as we enter 2018, it would appear the UK Government is on my message, too!As I write this column, three government departments have come together – Department for Transport, Department for Education and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – to launch the idea of 2018 being the ‘Year of Engineering’. The idea behind the ‘year’ is, and I quote: “an exciting opportunity to celebrate the great contribution that engineering makes to our country and encourage young people to join the profession”.

Also, in November, the UK government led a communications activity on the theme: ‘Inspire an engineer’, in the hope that more could be done to help encourage young people from different backgrounds to take a closer look at engineering. More on this in our next issue.

For my own part, can I urge you to make some New Year resolutions that support this initiative by signing up at http://www.dft.gov.uk/year-of-engineering-2018/get-involved, and find out how you and your organisation can add your weight to this.The promise is for “government and industry to offer young people across the UK a million direct experiences of engineering in a major push to tackle the skills gap”. We had all better get going then!

More seriously, it is, perhaps, encouraging to note that three government departments, and their respective Ministers, are collaborating on this venture. It does suggest some ‘joined-up thinking’ is in place, which is so important for this kind of initiative. It is also encouraging to note that there is a focus to “widen the pool of young people who consider the profession, diversifyinga workforce that is 91% male and 94% white” – something upon which I have also written in this column not long ago.

The government has clearly listened to the plethora of reports, research etc that have been highlighting the skills shortage in the engineering sector, along with the lack of public awareness and understanding about engineering over the last decade. However, the government and the education sector cannot address this issue alone; as professional designers and engineers, it is our responsibility to get engaged and do our bit.

May I encourage you one more time, therefore, to sign up at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/year-of-engineering-2018/get-involved. Then you can start making those all-important New Year’s Resolutions. They might just help to bring about the changes we’ve all been seeking.

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