Opening up the world of engineering

Posted on 18 Jul 2012 by Hazel Jeffs

Year 9 pupils at Small Heath Upper School, Birmingham, were the first in the country to experience the Tomorrow’s Engineers “Around the World” careers outreach programme led by EngineeringUK and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

The Tomorrows Engineers programme has harnessed the collaborative force of a variety of engineering employers and aims to show young people the exciting jobs that their science and mathematics subjects could lead to in the future.

EngineeringUK and the Royal Academy of Engineering coordinate the programme, introducing young people from schools around the UK to modern engineering workplaces and backing this experience up with careers information and resources that will inspire future engineers.

Yesterday 13-14 year-olds from Small Heath Upper School took part in an interactive presentation and activities tackling issues from climate change and surviving earthquakes to how to make sure our lights don’t go out.

The head of work related learning at Small Heath Upper School, Richard Riley said “There’s a new message that has to be put out about engineering. It is cool, and it opens up a lot of doors careers-wise.”

Mr Riley asserted that Small Heath Upper School believes strongly in the value of communicating to children why they learn what they learn and connecting the curriculum to employability prospects.

Activities at the Tomorrows Engineers ‘Around the World’ event included an ‘Engineering X Factor’ in which students solved challenges and brain teasers designed to shatter the myths that surround engineering and highlight the key skills and qualifications needed to follow a career in engineering and a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style activity giving pupils the chance to put their product or solution ideas to an industry expert.

The day was immediately proved to be an at least partial success after the comments of pupils such as Ibrahim Rashid, 14 showed how their entire outlook on engineering had been changed by the event.

Mr Rashid commented, “This has really made me think ‘should I change my career choice?’ I was thinking of going into medicine but, looking at this and learning about medical engineering, I thought ‘why not go into engineering? I wouldn’t have thought engineering had so many options. I thought cars and mechanics were it.”