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Young people encouraged to engage with engineering at new exhibition

World Cement,

The skills shortage within UK engineering “has reached critical levels,” said the Prince of Wales last week. He was speaking at the opening of the new ‘Engineer Your Future’ exhibition at the Science Museum in London.

The new exhibition forms part of the Science Museum’s commitment to support the UK government’s ‘Your Life’ campaign, an initiative designed to encourage young people to study physics and maths. The exhibition features a number of interactive experiences that aim to inspire young people to engage with engineering. Visitors can take part in various challenges and games, in addition to learning about men and women who work in engineering today.

“The aim of ‘Engineer Your Future’ is to surprise, intrigue and tempt the vast numbers of young people who visit the Science Museum to think seriously about becoming engineers,” explained Science Museum Director, Ian Blatchford. The exhibition is supported by a consortium that includes ABB, BT, EDF Energy, IBM, Mott MacDonald, National Grid, Network Rail and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with additional support from the Royal Academy of Engineering and EngineeringUK.

“The stark fact is, we need to double the number of engineering related apprentices and graduates in the UK,” commented Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid and Chair of the consortium. “Engineering makes up to a quarter of UK turnover, there are jobs out there, but there’s a shortage of people with the skills to do those jobs. So it’s not just about individual businesses, it’s about the growth of the UK economy. That’s why we’ve got behind this exhibition, to inspire more young people about the exciting, varied, well paid jobs there are in this field.”

The Prince of Wales noted that the skills crisis was particularly acute in “the fields of mechanical engineers, machine setters and engineering professionals, which are among the most difficult posts to recruit.” However, he went on to add that: “the scale of the challenge is also the scale of the opportunity. For instance, manufacturing, far from being a thing of the past as you might think from some portrayals, is actually experiencing a resurgence in the United Kingdom, employing 10% of the workforce (2.7 million people), and accounting for almost 50% of all exports.”

The exhibition opened on 17 December 2014 and will run for three years. It is free to attend.

Adapted from press releases by

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