Series 11 – Episode 3 – Informing and inspiring tomorrow's engineers

10th February 2023
Paige West

Paige West speaks with Beth Elgood, Director of Communications, Engineering UK about inspiring young people to consider a career in engineering.

Elgood joined EngineeringUK in 2010, with a background in marketing and communication.

“I’m not an engineer,” Elgood states. “But I really recognise the [impact] engineers have on all of our lives and how vital they are to all of our futures.”

Elgood has always had a passion for education and the way that it can transform people’s lives, so working for Engineering UK, which has inspiring young people at its heart, is fantastic for her.

“We at EngineeringUK recognise how vital engineers are to everybody’s futures. They’re the people that help us meet our basic human needs for food, for energy, for shelter, for communication.”

But there is a massive engineering skills shortage in the UK. In fact, a report led by The Institution of Engineering and Technology estimates a shortfall of over 173,000 workers in the STEM sector and an average of 10 unfilled roles per business in the UK, which is costing the economy a shocking £1.5bn per annum.

“Where [EngineeringUK] choose to focus our attention … is looking at engineering’s future workforce needs. We think about that from the perspective of young people and recognise really, that if we are to encourage young people to join the engineering and tech workforce, they really need to have the skills that they need to enter that workforce.”

The research EngineeringUK has conducted tells us that the more interactions young people have with engineering and the professionals in the industry the more they understand what engineers do and the more likely they are to consider a career in engineering.

During this podcast, Elgood also offers her thoughts on engineering apprenticeships. Despite a modest uptick in numbers last year, engineering-related apprenticeship starts in England are still 9% lower than in 2014/15. What’s more, the uptake varies by subject with a worrying 34% decline for engineering and manufacturing technologies.

“What we’re really trying to do is to have a look underneath some of the data we’ve brought together, really to understand what’s happening in engineering.”

Elgood goes on to talk about diversity in engineering, some of engineering’s key attributes and the correlation between environmental sustainability and engineering.

To hear more about inspiring tomorrow’s engineers and much more, you can listen to Electronic Specifier’s interview with Beth Elgood on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

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