The Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) has signed an open letter to the UK government urging it to embed engineering into current primary school learning and support and commit to securing our future as a nation of innovators.
Professor Danielle George MBE, Immediate Past President of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and ambassador of the
#EngineeringKidsFutures campaign, authored the letter. In it, she says that in order for the UK to ‘build back better’ post-pandemic and fully embrace the ‘green industrial revolution’ promised by the government, it is essential to start with solid foundations.
“By adding more focus on misunderstood terms like engineering and technology, where we know there is a perception problem, it will help young people from all backgrounds learn vital engineering and tech skills early on and increase their career aspirations,” she added.
The letter was supported by 167 co-signatories, including CABE’s Chief Executive Gavin Dunn and John Barfoot, Learning Education and Academic Director.
There is currently a shortfall of more than 173,000 workers in the STEM sector: an average of 10 unfilled roles per business in the UK. The IET’s latest skills survey identified that almost half (49%) of engineering and technology businesses are experiencing difficulties in the skills available to them when trying to recruit.
We must ensure the government commits to securing a nation of innovators, the letter continued. Innovators whose skills will be more crucial than ever in the coming decades as we tackle the global challenges posed by achieving net zero and meeting our COP26 pledges, it said.
“This focus and support for schools is fundamental if we want to future-proof the next generation of engineers,” said Professor George. “And these benefits extend far beyond the classroom – from higher earnings to better job satisfaction, our research shows that those in STEM careers can hit life goals such as financial independence much sooner than their peers.”
CABE’s John Barfoot told Building Engineer: “For too long children have not understood what engineering is, they have not made the link between their STEM lessons and the real world – by embedding engineering into the curriculum, we can start to address this.
“The construction industry will be part of the solution to the climate challenge, children might not understand the relationship between STEM and the environmental challenges, but by learning vital engineering and technology skills at school, along with us sharing our enthusiasm for the many exciting careers opportunities, we can inspire the next generation of engineers who will build a better world.”