The UK has a proud engineering heritage. We lead the world in sectors like aerospace and automotive. The industry continues to thrive today, delivering huge economic benefits to our country. However, there is a shortfall of qualified engineering graduates and skilled technicians and a real lack of diversity in the workforce being 94% white and 92% male.
It is estimated that only a third of people know what engineers actually do.The days of visualising engineers as a ‘man with a rag’ are over. Modern engineers comprise of men and women of all races and ethnicities. They use ‘machine learning’ as much as physical machinery and artificial intelligence fuelled by data to solve today’s most complex challenges.
2018 was the Year of Engineering - a government-industry initiative to meet these problems, challenge the stereotypes and raise the profile of engineering among young people, their parents and teachers to inspire a future generation.
Brexit provides us with an opportunity to build on our modern industrial success story and rocket onto the global stage as a leading innovative force. In order to sustain our velocity we must inspire our children to join the mission.
On Saturday 14 July 2018 I teamed up with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, to host a local Engineering Showcase in Basildon Town Centre.
The Showcase brought government, industry and the public together to challenge stereotypes and explore the variety, creativity and opportunity of engineering and help inspire a new and more diverse generation of engineers.
I am incredibly grateful to all those who exhibited and the families who attended to explore engineering. I am delighted that many found it an informative, inspiring event and took a closer look at what engineering means in the 21st Century.
For this year I will continue my engineering agenda and look forward to hosting another fair in Basildon in the summer.