Editor's comment: Keep the drumbeat…

Author : Mark Gradwell | Editor | EPDT

01 April 2019

Mark Gradwell, Editor, EPDT

There have been a proliferation of recent events, initiatives & rallying calls for those of us working in, or passionate about, STEM & manufacturing. Coming off the back of 2018’s Year of Engineering campaign, I’m happy to see this momentum continue. I believe that keeping the drumbeat going will be vital to tackling the ongoing skills crisis in STEM – especially as uncertainty persists around Brexit and our ability to attract talent from around Europe…

On the International Day of Women & Girls in Science (11th Feb), I attended Women In Graphene, a Graphene Flagship event at the National Graphene Institute in Manchester. It was inspiring to see so many talented female scientists gather to support one another’s career development – as well as hear about some of the amazing research projects this revolutionary 2D material is enabling.

The following week, I joined a webcast from The Royal Society as the University of Manchester’s Professor Danielle George gave her Michael Faraday Prize Lecture, which she was awarded for excellence in scientific public engagement. Professor George outlined how she believes ‘Thinkering’ can help the next generation of engineers & scientists solve some of society’s engineering grand challenges. My STEM-curious teenage son was impressed by the robot orchestra, developed by schoolchildren, she presented as evidence of the power of this approach.

The same week, Make UK’s National Manufacturing Conference (themed around Facing the Future Together: Preparing for Brexit and a changing world) featured keynotes from Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party & Leader of the Opposition, and journalist & broadcaster, Andrew Neil. One of the sessions I attended was an interactive workshop where industry delegates, working with young apprentices, had to rapidly design and present a campaign to attract the future generation of creators, innovators and makers into UK manufacturing.

March kicked off with National Apprenticeship Week (read more in my April STEM column) and International Women’s Day, both providing another opportunity to bang the drum for diversity in STEM. And in its Centenary year, the Women’s Engineering Society annual Top 50 Women in Engineering (WE50) list is themed around Apprentices. March also contains British Science Week and The Big Bang Fair, the UK’s Young Scientists & Engineers Fair. And on the World Wide Web’s 30th birthday (#Web30), its inventor, Sir Tim Berners-Lee reflected on how it has changed our world and what we must do to build a better web that serves all of humanity (#ForTheWeb).

A single campaign or initiative is not going to solve the UK’s STEM skills crisis – but a consistent drumbeat, touching on different themes to reach various audience groups, gives us the best chance of making progress…

EPDT April’s issue contains features on Power technologies & Automotive applications. Read more on what's inside EPDT this month...


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