The Year of Engineering aims to tackle the engineering skills gap and widen the pool of young people joining the profession. The industry itself is going through a positive evolution as technology, digitisation and automation has sparked transformation within the sector, job roles and the world around us.
The Year of Engineering
Above all, this initiative aims to give thousands of young people inspiring experiences of engineering, challenging traditional perceptions and tackling a lack of diversity in the industry. With only 9% of women UK engineers and 6% from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, this scheme sets out to widen the pool of young people who are entering the profession.
Causes for celebration
This year has many causes for celebration. One engineering highlight will be the first passenger journeys made on the Elizabeth Line. This project highlights the power of visionary UK leadership in ensuring that such projects deliver maximum benefit through innovation, local capacity development and community engagement.
This year also marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the institute of Civil Engineers as well as the 100th anniversary of the creation of the RAF. Both anniversaries showcase the engineering industry’s transformation on the world around us, promising a continuation in the future.
As discussed in our recruitment trends article, automation and technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) is one of the most significant tech trends for 2018. AI could have a substantial impact on the UK economy and so, 2018 will see greater investment in raising digital skills levels across workforces. With change on the horizon, it’s important for engineers to help frame a responsible debate about the future of world and the societal impact of said digital technologies.
In addition, the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 will provoke further debates about data privacy on top of posing practical challenges for those organisations who are preparing for compliance.
In the theme of technology, we couldn’t mention AI and not the digital railway. This is the industry’s plan for targeting digital systems to increase rail capacity and improve network performance. This technology is already proven, backed by government policy, and built on open standards that operate across Europe. The end goal is to bring together systems, technology and business change in an integrated way.
The engineering industry makes a major contribution each year to the UK economy. However, the shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates every year is having a significant impact of productivity and growth. As a result, the Year of Engineering initiative is crucial in order to tackle the skills gap and encourage more young people to enter the profession, especially with growing investment in new technology and landmark projects.