The Year of the Engineer

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2018 was 'the year of engineering', and arguably a year that allowed more women to make even more of a breakthrough in the industry.

The year of engineering saw engineering professionals work together with the government and industry to try and inspire the next generation into engineering. The Government brought out a number of different engineering apprenticeship schemes, and published information on the different skills that students would need.

Engineering is a vital part of the UK's economy and societal wellbeing, and with numbers drastically dropping the Government finally decided to start an initiative to fix this, which seemed to work.

Statistics show that engineering and related sectors did grow in 2018 with the overall number of people employed within the engineering industry totalling 5.6 million. The results from last year did also show that 27% of 11-14 year-olds know what engineers do, compared to that number being 15% in 2013.

However, when asked, only 31% of parents knew what engineering consisted of, backing up what we have previously spoken about regarding the importance of educating children from a young age and parents, by going into schools, introducing and showing them more about the engineering industry, and how vital it is for society as a whole.

It is also interesting to learn from the Engineering UK 2018 report that every time a new job is created in engineering 1.74 jobs are created elsewhere – showing that by stimulating young people into engineering we are benefitting other sectors too.

2018 was a big year for women as WES (The Women's Engineering Society) held the very first conference designed specifically for female engineer apprentices. WES also published its WE50 winners of 2018 which saw some females within the industry on the list for the first time, and some who have been regulars for a few years.

International women in engineering day also took place on 23rd June and this year was themed around 'raising the bar'. Amazon, and some other big names, sponsored the event as it wanted to show it is helping to inspire women engineers of tomorrow.

So what do we have to look forward to? 2019 will see WES turn 100 years old, so there will be plenty of centennial year celebrations that remember the past, celebrate the present and look forward to what the future holds. This year WES will also host many events and platforms for women to further their voice and impact engineering.

'Engineering: Take a closer look' is the Government's campaign to help continue the success the year of engineering brought. The goal is to encourage more young people to end up in an engineering career, and additionally to shake-up people's ideas about engineering to inspire the upcoming innovators, inventors and problem solvers.

But how exactly does it intend to do this? By building on the foundations from the work of last year and with the help of engineers and hundreds of organisations, including museums, galleries, schools and brands across the UK, the industry can be showcased to attract young people from all backgrounds to take a closer look at engineering.

Finally, earlier this month an article was released by the New Engineer listing eight of the most in-demand engineering jobs for 2019. Stating that the trends towards automation is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and that even though there are new areas in the industry, the traditional fields such as civil and petroleum engineering are still high in demand.

So here's to the next generation of budding engineers, and all the opportunities they bring with them, and here's to 2019!