Engineering has an image problem among young people today and we need to fix it.
The industry’s image has historically focused on workers in hard hats on a building site but it’s about so much more than that. Engineering is at the very heart of our society. It’s about engineers solving complex global problems such as providing vital infrastructure, clean water and cutting-edge healthcare facilities.
These old fashioned views need updating, especially as the number of young people in the UK pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) is at an all-time low.
Challenging stereotypes about engineering
That’s why I took part in a video – produced by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) – to showcase the human impact of engineering and encourage young people to pursue careers in engineering.
Bill Gates, Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow, and the CEO of Yahoo! Marissa Mayer, also took part in the film, which challenges people’s preconceptions about what engineering is and the contributions engineers make to society.
Increasing the number of graduates in STEM subjects
Currently the UK needs 50 per cent more graduates in STEM subjects. I’m passionate about finding a solution to this problem and regularly work with students and the media to address this, as well as engaging with our institutions and policy makers to influence widespread change.
I work with the RAE, Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), attending conferences and networking events with like-minded professionals, and have sat on a panel at the House of Lords to discuss diversity in STEM.
Why science and design is a great career choice
I’ve always loved science and design so the career I chose was always going to be focused around that. I found engineering to be a great combination of the two disciplines and have built a career in construction, following my passion.
My 11-year career in engineering has been extremely varied and I’ve designed bridges, skyscrapers and sculptures with signature architects over the last decade. I also spent six years working on the London landmark The Shard and was the youngest member of the project team. The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and I personally designed the foundations and the iconic ‘Spire’.
I hope this video shows what engineers can achieve and inspires more young people to pursue a rewarding and varied career in engineering or construction.
To learn more about engineering and the Royal Academy of Engineering’s ‘Because Engineering’ campaign, vist the #BecauseEngineering hashtag on twitter.
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