How The Big Bang Can Help With The UK's Engineering Shortage

Published: 23 Jan 2015

With the recent success of the Stephen Hawking film, The Theory of Everything detailing his life and the development of his initial theory of the creation of the universe (including the Big Bang), it's the ideal time to update the article, 'How Do We Solve The UK's Engineering Shortage?'.

How does Stephen Hawking relate to the engineering shortage?  Bear with us!

The article concludes that ‘What we need is for industry to rally behind one banner, where resources can be pooled and initiatives funnelled in the same direction.’ Despite various schemes, The Tomorrow's Engineers programme for example, which reached 50,000 students, there is still a shortfall of around 31,000 engineers each year.

Two initiatives have come to our attention, which will help with this shortfall. The first is the Engineering UK's The Big Bang Fair, which is the largest celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths for young people in the UK. They show young people (primarily aged 5 -19) the exciting and rewarding opportunities there are for them with the right experience and qualifications.

The UK event takes place at a different location in March every year, and through regional and local events and at school events. ‘The Big Bang works with partner organisations across business and industry, government and academia to give a flavour of the real scale and diversity of engineering and science in the UK.’

At the 2014 event, they welcomed a record-breaking 75,000 visitors to The NEC, Birmingham and reported that 93% of attendees described The Fair as very good or good. Of the key age-group of 11-14 year-olds, over half of them learnt a lot. Two thirds of young attendees took the opportunity to speak to someone about careers and more than seven out of ten knew where to go next for more information. 

They also achieved over 2,000 pieces of media including ITV Daybreak, the Alan Titchmarsh Show, the Telegraph, Independent and Daily Mail. Plus, they reached over 2 million people on social media. All of which raised awareness and helps inspire children to pursue a career in the STEM sectors and potentially reduce the shortage.

The second initiative is The Telegraph’s UK STEM Awards designed to reward the best undergraduates studying science, technology, engineering and maths. The lead sponsor is Babcock International Group. The UK STEM Awards were run for the first time last year and ‘gave undergraduates across the UK the chance to utilise their knowledge, build on their skills and propel themselves into the STEM spotlight.’ They are now registering interest for the 2015 awards. Perhaps this will unveil the next Stephen Hawking?

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