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Launch of Elevating Education - Meet our Team: Jelena Gacesa

Institution News Team

Jelena Gacesa
Jelena Gacesa

In celebration of the Institution’s 175th Anniversary and the launch of Elevating Education, we speak to Jelena Gacesa about her new role as the Education Outreach and Safeguarding Lead at IMechE and her life at home.

Tell us what you do for the Institution on a day-to-day basis. What does an average day look like?

In my role as IMechE’s Education Outreach & Safeguarding Lead, I provide the corporate focus for education and skills and the driving force behind the Institution’s education programme.

I lead and support various initiatives, including engaging with IMechE members, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary young people and I oversee external partnerships. My work is exciting, rewarding, varied and no two days are the same!

An average day includes developing the education and skills strategy, overseeing the IMechE’s first Mechanical Engineering Virtual Work Experience programme, refining IMechE STEM Ambassador trainings and resources, and providing support to our member networks.

What is the most rewarding part of working for IMechE?

I believe in the importance of education and skills and the impact that our education programme has on the lives of young people. IMechE has an important and influential voice, and our members have key roles to play in our engagement.

In my previous role as project manager for 4/5 of our student challenges, I worked with engineering experts across the Aerospace, Railway and Manufacturing divisions to prepare young people for industry. We grew the student challenge portfolio, adapted to the changing needs of industry in a pandemic world and delivered in budget. These are contributors to our developing education and skills strategy.

Tell us more about the Elevating Education project. What do you hope to gain from it?

Education has seen global disruption due to COVID-19 and IMechE is calling on its membership to invest in the next generation of engineers.

The Elevating Education project focuses on how engineers can contribute to the Institution’s mission and get involved in our education programme as STEM Ambassadors.

Elevating Education will see the launch of the IMechE STEM Ambassador Induction Video and our new STEM Ambassador Web resources. The Induction Video encourages IMechE members to sign up as STEM Ambassadors and highlights the support the Institution provides.

Why is it important to get young children into STEM?

To inform and inspire young people, it is important that we educate children about STEM from an early age. Regular outreach interventions with positive role models encourage young people to consider a career in engineering.

As the Institution supports engineers across their careers, our education programme supports children across all ages. The IMechE’s STEM at Home range of educational resources for practical STEM activities across Key Stages 1-4 illustrates our approach to learning. I launched the STEM at Home range in 2020, which later featured on a standalone collection on BBC Bitesize.

Jelena and her children

You have two lovely boys, what do they want to be when they grow up? Any plans for future engineers?

My two sons Damian (10) and Kristian (5) are very different and possess distinct personalities and skill sets. Damian is charismatic, has a special way with words and I believe he may have a career as a future lawyer or politician.

Kristian has a unique approach to things and enjoys numbers and problem solving. His attention to detail, innovative solutions and thorough approach may well lead to an engineering career!

Whatever my sons do, they will make their mama and themselves proud!

IMechE’s Elevating Education programme, where we focus on the importance of education and how engineers can respond to delivering the Institution’s mission to ‘improve the world through engineering’, has now officially launched.

Find out more about our 175 anniversary celebrations: IMechE 175 Hub


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