Year of Engineering emphasises on digitalisation and robotics

17th January 2018
Anna Flockett

This year is expected to bring a lot of exciting things to industry, but The Government’s ‘Year of Engineering’ Campaign, which has launched this week is certainly high up on the list. It includes a number of activities which recognise the role of digital and robotics as a crucial part of the portfolio of skills for engineering.

2018 has been designated the Year of Engineering and Ministers from across government are engaging with companies and industry experts to transform the way young people see engineering and to boost number entering engineering related professions.

Significant in launch week is the visit on Tuesday 16th January of new Digital Minister Margot James to an all-girl event run by the business/education linking charity EDT at a school in London where students are undertaking exercises in cyber security and robotics which emphasise the digital skills that are part and parcel of modern engineering.

EDT is a partner for the Year of Engineering and its robotics and cyber security experiences for the 120, year 7 girls at Plumstead Manor School in London are two of many activities that EDT runs for young people at different stages of their school careers. EDT activities reinforce the message that engineering is about making a difference to lives and give young people information about the many faces of engineering, science and technology.

Julie Feest, Chief Executive of EDT said: “The Year of Engineering is challenging false ideas about engineering. EDT works to make sure that even young people early in their school careers start learning the skills in engineering, science and technology that they will need in the future and receive the information that they need about careers in the 4th Industrial Revolution, which will be in full swing as they come to working age.

In particular, the nature of the 4th Industrial Revolution will mean that digital and robotics must be an important part of the portfolio of skills that engineers will need for the future. Successful careers will increasingly rely on a breath of expertise as different disciplines are required to co-operate to create new products and services that have not even been thought of yet. It may well be that in depth knowledge of narrow subject areas becomes less prized and artificial intelligence becomes able to take over such roles.”

Digital Minister Margot James said: “It was fantastic to see first hand how varied and exciting careers in engineering can be, with talented young people demonstrating the opportunities in robotics, cyber security and digital skills as part of our Year of Engineering Campaign.

"Engineering is open to everyone, irrespective of gender, ethnicity and social background, and I encourage all students to consider a future career in the field.”

Among the activities that the year seven girls will be undertaking at Plumstead Manor School are:

Code Breakers – a cyber-detective style exercise to introduce the principles of coding as the students undertake a ‘Cluedo’ style mystery in which they must identify a hacker and uncover the details of their next cyber-crime.

Robotics Challenge – the students must plan a robotised mission to get supplies to survivors of a natural disaster. The teams will work out the best route for their robot to use and code accordingly, they will need to measure the route and avoid danger zones.

The students who complete the activities will qualify for an Industrial Cadet Award at Challenger Level.

To find out more about EDT activities for companies wishing to engage with young people visit here.

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