Embracing Engineering’s Creative Side

It has now been a year since the infamous Perkins Review called for urgent action to be taken to address the UK’s chronic shortage of engineers. These concerns are nothing new and according to The Telegraph we have been worrying about the state of science and engineering here in the UK for nearly 200 years.


Such illustrious figures as Charles Babbage, father of the computer, expressed concerns as far back as 1830 that England was in danger of falling behind other nations, due it its failure to support the scientific industry adequately.

The engineering skills crisis and the initiatives being taken to address it have been the subject of our blogs before. However according to a recent report from the BBC some individuals believe that current methods are inadequate, and that a new approach is needed in order to solve the impending skills crisis.

According to the article, leading member of the engineering field Sir John O’Reilly, a fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, has argued that in order to encourage more young people into engineering careers, engineering needs to emphasise its creative side.

In a lecture delivered last Thursday at this year’s memorial Mountbatten lecture at the Royal Institution, he claimed that recognising the role of the arts in engineering could attract more people into the industry, in addition to a number of other benefits such as aiding innovation and boosting future competitiveness. Sir John pointed to the fact that creativity forms a huge part of engineering, and the industry is also becoming increasingly diverse and inventive. During the lecture he also advocated the adoption of a new wider acronym, STEAM (science, technology, engineering arts and maths) in order to reflect this. Interestingly some university engineering departments are already collaborating with art schools in an attempt to develop understanding and improve products.

It is thought that emphasising creativity would also help broaden the range of people attracted to the field, and the article quotes Helen Wollaston, Director of the WISE campaign, as stating that “People who are creative and imaginative are good at working out how to improve products, making them more useful and attractive to customers. Advertising for people with these characteristics would be a good way to attract more girls and women into science, technology and engineering.”

If you would like to listen to the lecture for yourself take a look at this handy webcast. Here at European Springs we recognise the important role creativity has in engineering design and innovation. We are leading  spring suppliers and our products have a wide range of applications in the engineering industry. For more information please do not hesitate to contact us and a member of our expert team will be happy to assist you with your enquiries.

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