Ensuring that young people are engaged and interested in engineering topics is more important than ever before. With the skills gap becoming an increasing issue within the engineering and manufacturing industry, educational institutions around the country need to take action immediately.
In this article, we take a look at some of the reasons that we need to encourage more students to become engineers, as well as some tips on how to get young people engaging with the engineering industry from a younger age.
Why Do Young People Need To Be Engaged By Engineering?
Over the last few years, the skills gap between older and experienced workers and university/apprenticeship graduates has grown significantly. With an ever-increasing demand for highly skilled workers within the engineering industry, extreme strain has been put on employers and budding engineers.
The expectation from employers is that young employees must come in and begin working at a level far beyond their years of experience, the current model simply isn’t sustainable, with older and experienced engineers edging ever closer to retirement. According to research carried out by EngineeringUK, the UK will require 203,000 people with Level 3 Engineering skills each year to meet demand through to 2024.
It’s also worth noting that there are several under-represented groups in engineering and steps need to be taken to address these gaps. Research carried out in 2018 by EngineeringUK found that just 12% of the engineering workforce is female, which presents a huge challenge as we try and encourage more young women to join the engineering workforce.
How To Engage Young People In Engineering
With so much emphasis being placed on ensuring more young people from all backgrounds become engaged with the engineering industry and choose to take up a career within the sector, it can be difficult to know exactly how is best to approach workshops, lessons or talks on the subject. From including hands-on activities within your session to highlighting the benefits of working within the engineering industry, here are some of our top tips on how to create engaging workshops on engineering for young people.
- Make tasks applicable to young people – When a young person thinks about a job in engineering, they can be forgiven for believing it is most likely out of their reach. Create tasks which highlight they already possess a whole host of applicable skills such as teamwork, communication, problem-solving, logic, creativity, perseverance, and learning from their mistakes.
- Highlight failure as a positive – Many young people believe that failure is negative and should be avoided at all costs, but in engineering, failure is a key part of the process to creating a new product. Activities centred around bouncing back from failure are a vital part of engaging young people with engineering and should be included in any workshop.
- Get hands-on – It’s fair to say that the vast majority of young people dislike the idea of being talked at for an hour about a subject they are unfamiliar with, so be sure to include activities that engage with young people. Group activities are extremely effective and resonate with most young people, as they solidify learning and create a buzz around the group, which can be talked about over the coming days and weeks.
- Highlight benefits of working within engineering – One of the most important parts of any engineering activity is highlighting the many benefits of working within the industry. Here’s just a selection of benefits you could choose to highlight: pay, opportunities to travel, career prospects, working in a varied and fast-paced environment and making a positive contribution to society.
- Create awareness of different industries within engineering – Engineering is a vast and diverse sector, with opportunities to work in various industries within engineering. Some of the lesser-known industries within the sector include entertainment, power, the environment, food and drink and even sport.
Here at European Springs and Pressings, we pride ourselves on ensuring young people have a clear pathway into the engineering industry. Over the years, we have run several apprenticeship programmes, which have led to apprentices securing full-time roles within engineering companies upon completion. We believe that imparting our knowledge as an industry-leading spring manufacturer to young people is imperative to the survival of the engineering industry as a whole.