I am passionate about inspiring young people to become the engineers of the future. But the UK faces an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates every year, with half of companies in the sector saying the shortage is having a significant impact on their productivity and growth. This is not good news for the economy or if we want the UK to be a leader in innovation.
One of the major challenges we face is encouraging young people to become the next generation of engineers, that is why I hosted the Solent Festival of Engineering at Fareham Leisure Centre on 8th November and was very pleased that thousands packed into the Solent Festival of Engineering to learn more about the opportunities available to them through a career in engineering.
OVER 700 children and students from schools and colleges across the Solent area and hundreds more members of the public attended. The Mayor of Fareham Cllr Susan Bayford also attended.
From virtual reality, rocket cars, coding challenges, 3D printing, Lego building, drones, model railways, AI, learning about wi-fi, jet engines and gas turbines to life on Mars and deep sea diving, pet scanners, magic and ship tankers, attendees were not short of interactive engineering experiences. There were around 50 individual stallholders, each with a team of engineers or experts to talk about the different work in engineering they do and to allow the children and students to peer into the world or engineering.
At the Festival were local businesses such as Fareham based SAAB Seaeye, Richer Education and others, as well as national companies such as Google, Rolls Royce and British Gas.
Thanks to all who helped make the Solent Festival of Engineering a success yesterday. Support from main sponsors like Saab Seaeye, NATS, Fareham College, Qinetiq, Elliott Wood, Standard Aero, British Gas, Aquila Nuclear Engineering and Richer Education made it all possible. The Festival really was a thumping success, with hundreds of children and students being able to talk directly with engineers, take part in interactive and engaging experiments, and learn more about the many careers open to them. The Festival only worked because of the dedication of the many businesses and companies who attended. Amongst the crowd there were sure to be a few future innovators who might one day change the world.
Our main sponsors were:
Our other sponsors include:
- IME Engineering and Fabrication Ltd
- STS Defence Ltd
- Trant Engineering Ltd
The government is driving forward plans to raise the profile of engineering amongst young people. The Year of Engineering, which launched on Monday 15th January, will see government work with hundreds of industry partners to raise the profile of engineering among young people aged 7-16, their parents and their teachers. This will include offering at least a million direct experiences of engineering to young people from all backgrounds – from behind the scenes tours and family days out, to school visits and the chance to meet engineering role models.