STEM Matters: Tomorrow’s Engineers Week returns for its eighth year…

Author : Mark Gradwell | Editor | EPDT

02 December 2020

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Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, run by EngineeringUK, shines an annual spotlight on engineering careers through a media campaign & activity involving hundreds of employers, individual engineers, professional institutions, parliamentarians & schools joining forces to inspire the next generation of engineers.

The full version of this column was originally featured in the December 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

EngineeringUK works in partnership with the engineering community to inspire tomorrow’s engineers and increase the number and diversity of young people choosing academic and vocational pathways into engineering. Returning for its eighth year, Tomorrow’s Engineers Week (#TEWeek20) ran from 2-6 November, highlighting to young people that engineering is a creative, problem solving and exciting career that improves the world around us...

Mark Gradwell, Editor, EPDT

This year’s campaign highlighted the positive impact that engineers have on the world around us and what it’s like to be an engineer in 2020. According to new research released to mark the start of #TEWeek20, a generation of young people are rapidly reassessing their career dreams in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. EngineeringUK’s new report, “Our Careers, Our Future” showed that over one in five 11-19 year olds (22%) agreed that what they want to do as a career has changed and 30% agreed that what career they can do has changed as a result of the pandemic.

The report claims that this suggests that the pandemic is affecting – and in some cases, constraining – young people’s careers aspirations. Despite improvements to careers advice in recent years, access to support is not universal, with researchers finding that 15-16 year old boys in Year 11 were 1.3x more likely to receive careers guidance than girls. And worryingly, since school closures in March 2020, more than three quarters (76%) of 11-19 year olds have not accessed formal careers activities.

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In education, young people living in poverty are already at a disadvantage compared to their wealthier peers. The pandemic has affected how young people access education and this gap is expected to expand as many disadvantaged students do not have the same access to learning resources online or to appropriate devices. It’s critical that initiatives aimed at widening participation in STEM take this reality into account, and work collaboratively across schools, employers, outreach providers and policy makers to ensure that young people who are digitally excluded are not left behind.

Read the full column in EPDT's December 2020 issue...


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