In a recent article in The Economist, Sir James Dyson expressed his concern about being able to recruit 3,000 engineers for his expanding design and production facility in Malmesbury. With Britain producing only 25,000 engineering graduates a year, more than half of British firms that employ engineers and IT staff can’t find the employees they need – the figures are from the latest survey by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Meanwhile, Engineering UK warns Britain has an annual shortfall of about 55,000 people with engineering skills.
None of this is new to those of us who are developing the New Model in Technology & Engineering (NMITE), Herefordshire’s new university. However, it does raise the challenge of what more we can do, in partnership with local schools and forward-thinking employers, to encourage more students to think about, indeed, become inspired by, the idea of a career in engineering. Clearly, the sooner we start and the younger we capture a child’s interest, the better.
To start this journey, on April 21, we launched the NMITE Connect programme to bring together science and maths teachers from Primary and Secondary schools in Herefordshire and the businesses who can help bring the subjects alive for their students. We were joined by guest speaker Norm Augustine, former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin, who addressed representatives from about 40 schools and 40 businesses. We intend this to kick-start a partnership which will result in a series of initiatives, including visits by young engineers and scientists from local companies to support teachers, one-to-one partnering between specific schools and businesses, events and competitions to engage children in the process of invention and design and talks by keynote speakers who can inspire children with the real world experiences of engineers and scientists. To find out more or get involved, visit nmite.org.uk/schools
To access this TALKING POINT article as a PDF click here