A sixty-six-page report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering, has told schools that they should be encouraging students to pursue STEM careers. The groups say the renewed call for schools to get behind making STEM appealing is because the United Kingdom is experiencing a shortage of engineers. The report is called Big Ideas: The Future of Engineering in Schools.
The report says, it is their belief that “by working together to get children immersed in STEM subjects from an early age,” they can fill out more engineering jobs in the future.
Professor John Perkins, CBE, and part of the Royal Academy of Engineers – in the foreword to the report – said, “Of course, this is by no means a new goal, but there is a growing awareness that more radical approaches will be needed if we are to achieve the step change in supply that all involved agree would be desirable.”
Stephen Tetlow, the CEO of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and one of the authors of the report says, “Demand for engineering skills is growing, as big projects such as High Speed 2 and new nuclear initiatives come closer to becoming reality, alongside exciting innovation in less traditional mechanical engineering such as the expanding medical sector.”
The Nitty Gritty
Tetlow says the UK as a whole needs more engineers due to the skills shortage costing them more than US$38 million per year.
Peter Finegold, one of the lead authors and head of education and skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers says that the skills shortfall is happening at a very important time due to how far technology is progressing past human skills. He added, “Our schools need to adjust to this reality, both by increasing the number and breadth of young people choosing engineering careers, and by empowering those who do not. This means ensuring that primary school children are taught not just about the natural world but also taught about the manufactured world too.”