With 1.8 million engineers needed in the UK by 2025, engineering firm Mabey is attempting to take the lead on encouraging young people to pick a career in engineering with a programme that would hopefully inspire children to study STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.
Aimed at students aged 10-13, the course uses LEGO® education materials to cover eight different engineering activities including wheel and axle, level, gear, pulley, robot arm, scissor lift, watch tower and bridge. While also making use of Virtual Reality, so students have a taste of the digital direction the industry is heading in.
Some of the world’s most iconic structures like the Sydney Opera House and Eiffel Tower will be represented in LEGO® VR worlds. Through VR headsets, students will be able to explore the structures while learning the statistics and facts that have contributed to their construction.
It’s hoped this new initiative will put an end to despairing statistics like the fact that just one in eleven young people are taking maths and physics at A-level. Leading construction firm Morgan Sindall is the first contractor to begin rolling out the programme at a school in Rugby.
The programme was created by Mabey Hire’s engineering director Dave Holland and digital engineer Andrew Gascoine. A successful pilot programme, which was run to coincide with the Year of Engineering in 2018, had fantastic results, with 95% of children saying they would consider a career in engineering after they had taken part in the programme.
Gordon MacDonald, chief executive officer of Mabey Hire said: “One of Mabey Hire’s key strengths is its engineering expertise and we know how varied, fascinating and rewarding a career in engineering can be. With 1.8 million engineers needed in the UK by 2025, we take our responsibility for encouraging the next generation of engineers seriously, which is why we have built this programme to inspire and engage children to consider a career in engineering, no matter what their current understanding of the subject is.”
The firm is now running the full programme to children across three schools in Manchester, Glasgow and Wigan, which are located close to some of Mabey’s largest depots. But those behind the scheme say it has been packaged so that it can be readily deployed by other key players in the engineering supply chain.
Alison Chippington, highways head of work winning at Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, added: “It was in conversation with our supplier Mabey at our Group Supply Chain best practice event earlier this year that we first heard about this innovative education scheme. Seeing the potential, Morgan Sindall Infrastructure has been delighted to support the scheme in its first pilot in the industry – we are committed to inspiring the workforce of the future and addressing the industry’s skill shortage and this programme does just that.”