Head of Education Policy
Peter is Head of Education in the Engineering Policy Unit at the Institution where he is responsible for leading the Institution’s education programme with the aim of increasing the attractiveness of engineering as a career to more young people from all backgrounds and to improve wider public perceptions of engineering.
Having qualified as a biology and mathematics teacher, Peter spent ten years teaching biology, science and psychology in comprehensive schools in Sussex and London. After teaching, Peter joined the Wellcome Trust, during which time he led the work of the charity’s education team, initiated the Trust’s now well-established education policy research programme and oversaw various innovative performing arts and digital education programmes, as well as co-producing broadcast education TV programmes on biomedical ethics themes. In 2001 Peter instigated the National Science Learning Centre concept (now STEM Learning Ltd), leading the development of the £51million initiative for Wellcome over the following five years, in partnership with government.
From 2006 Peter and his co-director set up a company that specialised in corporate communications and consultancy in public engagement with science, health and education, during which time he was also Director of Public Programmes at the North West Genetics Knowledge Park – a Department of Health, joint University of Manchester and NHS initiative, designed to explore the impact of genomics on health practitioners, patients and the wider public. He worked extensively on modernising genetics education and STEM education policy; including co-authorship of the STEM Careers Review in 2010, commissioned by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation – a precursor of the Good Career Guidance Report.
Since joining IMechE in 2013, Peter’s research informed policy reports have placed the Institution at the forefront of thought leadership in seeking new ways of addressing the skills gap in engineering by understanding better the target audience (Five Tribes: Personalising Engineering Education), challenging orthodox views that suggest mainstream education is not the place for engineering (Big Ideas: The Future of Engineering in Schools) and exploring the culture and narrative of education (“We think it’s important but don’t quite know what it is”: The culture of engineering in schools). He has also led the development of the STEM Insight careers programme in which teachers spend time in industry and worked with the IET to establish the Engineering Education Grant Scheme.
Peter was formerly Visiting Research Fellow at the Royal Institution, Associate Fellow in the Centre for Education & Industry, University of Warwick and Honorary Research Fellow, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester
Peter’s top three
Favourite engineering innovation: Jet engine.
Person I most admire: Richard Feynman for his brilliance and honesty.
Greatest challenge facing engineering: The planet's growing population.