The Sleeper's Blog

29.11.16

Inspiring the next generation of engineers

A new initiative has been launched by London Transport Museum (LTM) to help tackle the UK’s shortage in engineers by encouraging children as young as three to consider a career in the sector.

The museum’s ‘Enjoyment to Employment’ programme offers children and teenagers the chance to engage with a range of skills and employability activities surrounding the transport and engineering sector in a bid to maintain youthful interest in the sector.

The programme includes participatory sessions at the museum and schools, involving activities such as mending vehicles and helping passengers with travel requests, while introducing participants to sector experts and demonstrating how studying STEM subjects can be useful in wider employment.

Speaking at the launch, London’s transport commissioner, Mike Brown, said: “We are facing a skills shortage within the transport industry and it is vital that we work together to tackle this challenge.

“Capturing the imagination and curiosity of children is part of the solution. We need more schemes to ensure that children from an early age are inspired to pursue a career in engineering.”

A recent report by Engineering UK concluded that Britain needs around 69,000 more engineers than it is currently producing every year to meet the demands of the industry.

While it is believed that the industry does enough to sufficiently engage A-Level and undergraduate students, it is argued that more could be done with younger children to increase the numbers and diversity of young people considering engineering as a career.

The ‘Enjoyment to Employment’ initiative seeks to do this to providing hands-on activities to over 7,000 pre-schoolers, encouraging toddlers to grow accustomed to real engineering equipment such as hard hats, pieces of track and specialist testing gear.

Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of Siemens Rail Systems UK, said that schemes such as this are vital in helping to sustain the enthusiasm that all children and young people have for transport.

“Over half of all businesses expect difficulty in recruiting STEM skilled staff in the next three years and it will only get harder unless we take action now,” he added. “The industry needs to work together to ensure children of all ages are excited about engineering and all the career opportunities it offers.”

Sam Mullins, director of London Transport Museum, noted that the initiative to offer engineering classes with children of primary and nursery age for the first time will hopefully act as a “bridge between children and young people and industry”.

The museum’s target to reach over 7,000 children with the initiative runs in addition to the 145,000 children that already come into contact with the museum’s educational programmes.

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