That was the message from not-for-profit EngineeringUK today (18 September) as it announced its renewed focus on workforce diversity in its new five-year strategy.
Engineering and technology are critically important for the UK, the organisation said, with “huge opportunities and responsibilities over the coming years”. The sector continues to face “significant” workforce challenges, however.
“For engineering and technology to really thrive, we urgently need more people and more diversity in our workforce. Our new strategy provides us – and importantly all of our partners – with a renewed focus on what we’re trying to achieve, and clarity on how we’re going to get there,” said chief executive Dr Hilary Leevers.
“We’re determined to achieve our mission of enabling more young people from all backgrounds to be inspired, informed and progress into engineering and technology. But this will only be possible by working in partnership – we all have a part to play in this.”
EngineeringUK is supported by members and fellows of IMechE, alongside other professional engineering institutions (PEIs).
Dr Alice Bunn, IMechE chief executive and EngineeringUK trustee, said: “Engineering is an exciting, rewarding career and engineers have a key role in solving many of the complex global challenges we face today. We need to encourage many more young people into the profession, and it is vitally important we work together to drive change and ensure that young people have the right skills to make a difference.
“EngineeringUK’s new strategy will engage more young people with engineering and technology, helping to inspire a new generation of innovators.”
The new strategy, which runs until 2028, consists of four ‘strands’ of activity:
- Research and evidence – establishing the composition of the current engineering and technology workforce, future workforce needs and how to address them
- Leadership – leading efforts to make inspiration and careers activities with school pupils more effective
- Activities for schools – expanding activities to encourage more, and more diverse, young people into engineering, technician and tech roles
- Advocacy – providing advocacy and support to address policy and delivery challenges in STEM.
Ed Almond, chief executive of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and EngineeringUK trustee, said: “This new strategy ensures it is providing an in-depth and multifaceted approach to inspire the next generation of engineers to deliver the solutions required by society.”
He added: “The demand for engineers is only increasing, so the work that EngineeringUK does – along with all engineering PEIs across the UK – is critical. We need to promote the range of science, engineering and technology careers to young people from all different backgrounds.
“We also need to show society its impact and importance in tackling world challenges, and advocate for policy and education in engineering. It’s a collective effort, so collaboration is key in driving real change.”
Dr Janet Young, director general of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and EngineeringUK trustee, said: “The world is facing unprecedented challenges, from climate change to biodiversity loss. Engineers have the skills and drive to change the world, and are in a unique position to address these challenges head on. This renewed strategy will encourage and inspire the engineers and infrastructure professionals necessary to build the cleaner, greener future we all need.”
Benj Sykes, head of environment, consenting and external affairs at member organisation Orsted, said: “As one of the world’s leading renewable energy developers, a diverse, innovative, collaborative group of engineers lies at the very core of our business. These teams drive forward our projects, turning concepts and plans into vital green energy generating assets, such as offshore wind, so we’re delighted to see sustainability and net zero feature so prominently in the EngineeringUK vision.
“A diverse pool of future talent is crucial for the success of our business and many industries alike. By boosting engagement and aspiration in STEM-based careers, we can open up the world of possibilities to future generations of scientists and engineers.”
Are you up to date on the latest advances in decarbonisation and net zero? To make sure you are, attend the Sustainability in Engineering webinar series from Professional Engineering and IMechE (25-29 September). Register for free now.
Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.