Sparking young imaginations with The Big Bang

It is well documented that there is a lack of engineering talent in the UK and in our recent Voice of the Workforce research which surveyed more than 2,500 engineering professionals, 69% said they believe there is a skills shortage in their sector. When asked what the most important factor is in addressing the skills shortage, the highest proportion of engineers said the promotion of engineering as a career choice to younger generations.

But how do we get more young people to understand the world of engineering and how exciting a career in the engineering profession can be? 

As children, we all dreamed about what we wanted to be when we grew up, from racing car drivers to zoo keepers, but how often does a child dream of becoming an engineer? And how can the industry inspire the future generation of engineers?

Sparking the imagination can come in many different forms, from big STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) events to simple creative activities at school or home such as building structures with marshmallows and straws or everyday projects such as fixing a bike – something which inspired legendary engineer James Dyson:


“It all started in my early teens when I worked with my dad to fix my mountain bike. My bike had a puncture and I really loved the hands on approach of fixing it with tools. So I did an engineering diploma which I really loved.” 

Encouragingly, statistics in EngineeringUK’s 2017 State of Engineering report show a positive shift in the level of interest young people in the UK are showing in engineering. In four years, the number of 11-16 years olds who would consider a career in engineering has increased from 40% to 51%.

Events such as The Big Bang at Solent 2017 which is being held today in Hampshire, England really help to bring engineering to a younger audience, giving them access to information on the different STEM careers they could have from the 60+ employers in attendance. The Big Bang Fair is an award-winning combination of exciting theatre shows, interactive workshops and careers information, which sees STEM professionals collaborate to inspire the next generation of engineers. 

This year, Matchtech’s STEM ambassador and Senior Aerospace Consultant, Selina Breed, is attending to help demonstrate the exciting and rewarding career opportunities that engineering can offer.  She will also challenge the students to create a balloon powered car to better understand the engineering design process and to encourage them to think different about engineering careers. 

Events like the Big Bang fair are crucial to get young people to think about engineering as an exciting career and sparking their imagination.  Getting a new generation to think about the possibilities that engineering careers bring is a great starting point to plugging the skills gap in the future. 

To find out more about STEM initiatives promoting engineering careers, visit the EngineeringUK website.

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