If I asked you to picture an engineer, what image would spring to mind? Is it, by any chance, a man in a high-vis jacket and hard hat?
That stereotype presents a massive challenge to the sector. This outdated view of who an engineer is and what they do dissuades GCSE and A-level students from considering a career in engineering, which in turn creates a skills shortages and lack of diversity.
Engineering is a unique industry; it requires skills which are not universally possessed. Any factors which narrow an already small talent pool have to be addressed by everybody in the sector.
This is Engineering campaign
To eliminate myths and stereotypes around the industry, the Royal Academy of Engineering is pioneering This is Engineering, a campaign headlined by today, This is Engineering day. Run in collaboration with trade body EngineeringUK, the fantastic new campaign aimed at 13-18 year olds highlights young engineers in the industry, with the aim of bringing the sector to life and encouraging future recruits.
The campaign also highlights the way engineering touches on every aspect of our lives, including areas which would not immediately spring to mind, including sport, fashion and health.
What does an engineer look like?
As well as raising awareness, a key principal behind This is Engineering is to change the imagery associated with the industry.
How did you conjure the image I asked you to think of earlier? You were likely influenced by what you’ve seen previously.
The best way to create diversity in the sector and make it attractive to young talent is to create role models who encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
The importance of highlighting different engineering roles
Highlighting the diversity of roles available will attract a variety of candidates to the sector.
The industry has evolved beyond chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical engineers. Now engineering encompasses everything from working with nanotechnology to creating new performance tracking systems for athletes.
Rather than spending all of their time on-site in a hard hat and hi-vis, engineers now work in the lab creating biomedical devices, in studios working with audio equipment or even on the catwalk ensuring that fashion shows captivate their audiences.
At Reed Engineering, we’ve got a range of engineering positions available at the moment. Our positions reflect the myriad of areas engineering can reach, including a role in the music industry.
That’s why I’m proud to support This is Engineering day. I want to help it become a focal point for celebrating the industry and raising awareness of the great work done by engineers across the country.
Hopefully, it’ll lead to a greater range of talented individuals seeking to work in the industry. You must play your part by helping to publicise the campaign, otherwise the shortage of young engineers will continue to undermine the sector.