The building blocks to a lifelong passion for engineering could be a step closer for thousands of children across the UK, as LEGO® has announced its support for a national campaign to bring children face to face with engineering experiences and role models.
The Engineers of the Future roadshow will be heading to primary schools across the UK this autumn as part of the government's Year of Engineering campaign. Led by engineers equipped with LEGO® Education solutions, including LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 and LEGO® Education MINDSTORMS® EV3 , the roadshow aims to inspire children by giving them access to quality hands-on learning experiences and by helping them to discover the exciting opportunities that are possible for all young aspiring engineers.
For many of the children taking part it will also be their first chance to meet engineers face to face, giving them career role models from different backgrounds and helping transform perceptions of what it means to be an engineer.
Minister for the Year of Engineering, Nusrat Ghani, said:
Engineers are at the forefront of technology and infrastructure advances which are shaping all of our lives, from how we communicate and travel to tackling major challenges in healthcare and the environment. But the opportunities of this creative, innovative and hugely important profession are all too often misunderstood and overlooked by young people and their parents.
That's why I'm thrilled to announce our collaboration with LEGO® as part of the Year of Engineering. LEGO®'s enduring popularity is testament to the curiosity, ingenuity and creativity that make so many children natural engineers, and Engineers of the Future is a chance to build on this – helping young people from all backgrounds discover how these skills could be their passport to a varied, well-paid and exciting career that makes a real difference to the world around them.
Government Year of Engineering Envoy, Steven Metcalfe, said:
I'm delighted to be joining with local schools, LEGO® and the Institution of Engineering and Technology at Sage UK, for this fantastic launch event. The Engineers of the Future roadshow will give school children across the country a unique perspective on the exciting opportunities engineering presents when it hits the road in the autumn. If it's greeted as enthusiastically when it travels the country as it has been in Newcastle then it should prove a tremendous success and an inspiring introduction to the world of engineering for children across the country.
Supported by the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the collaboration will build on FIRST® LEGO® League – a global and UK-wide challenge that sees students take on engineering challenges to tackle global problems, from hydro-electricity to space exploration. Engineers of the Future aims to bring this competition to a wider group of young people, through both the schools roadshow and the Engineers of the Future challenge, a competition that encourages FIRST® LEGO® League teams to share their experience with other local schools and create inspiring films of their projects. The winning teams will get the chance to showcase their inventions and films at a special event in Parliament later this year, aimed at demonstrating the importance of modern engineering skills to MPs.
Camilla Bottke, Head of LEGO® Education After School and Competition, said:
For more than 35 years it has been our mission to inspire and develop all children, equipping them with the right skills to empower them to succeed, whatever their background and whatever their ambition. Our experience shows us the importance of supporting the development of engineering and mathematics">STEM skills in children from an early age. We are delighted to be part of the UK government's Year of Engineering initiative to further our commitment to developing these important engineering and mathematics">STEM skills in children across the country and leveraging technology to give children the opportunity to become aspiring engineers.
Nigel Fine, Chief Executive of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), said:
The IET is the delivery partner for FIRST® LEGO® League in the UK and Ireland. We are extremely proud to be working with both LEGO® and the government to inspire the engineers of the future.
The need for young people with engineering and mathematics">STEM skills has never been greater and the Year of Engineering provides us with a brilliant platform to showcase the fantastic opportunities available to those who follow a career path into the profession. Working with students at the Engineers of the Future roadshows will be a great reminder of why the IET is working to engineer a better world.
LEGO® is the latest company to announce its support for the Year of Engineering, joining the likes of Apple, Usborne and the BBC along with more than 1,400 other businesses, charities, schools and colleges.
The engineering profession needs 203,000 skilled people each year to 2024, and has an annual shortage of 20,000 graduates. The workforce also faces a major lack of diversity – only 12% of engineers are female and just 6% come from black, Asian or minority ethnic groups. The campaign aims to help change this by giving young people in all corners of the UK the chance to take a closer look at engineering by experiencing it for themselves – from meeting engineering role models in their school to taking part in hands on activities and workshops or engineering open doors events with their families.
This summer the Year of Engineering is inviting children to get curious and creative during the school holidays with The Holiday Makers campaign which encourages them to collect engineering experiences and take part in activities at home for the chance to win prizes and wow their classmates.