Encouraging stats for engineering - but shortfall must be met

An apprenticeship in engineering is a sound career choice.
An apprenticeship in engineering is a sound career choice.

A new Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ poll of a representative cross-section of 1000 members of the public found that 86 per cent would encourage a young person to become an engineer.

Of the four options offered, engineering was the most popular at 86 per cent, with 80 per cent saying they would encourage a young person to become a doctor, 56 per cent an accountant and just 36 per cent who said they would encourage a young person to become a banker.

Peter Finegold, head of education and skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “The results of this poll are both encouraging and surprising.

“We face a shortfall of 30,000 qualified engineers every year coming through our education system.

“This result suggests however that basic demand is there and that the public already has some understanding of the extraordinarily diverse and valuable careers available in engineering.

“Getting more young people into engineering isn’t just about helping people to pursue exciting careers but about ensuring the UK has the right skills to enable the country to prosper.

“Much more needs to be done to ensure we get the growth in UK engineers this country needs, through better careers advice, establishing better links between schools and local employers and a fundamental rethink in the education system to boost science, engineering, technology and maths education in schools.”

The poll is released ahead of the Institution’s new research set for release later this year called Big Ideas in Engineering Education which looks at radical new thinking to boost the number of people pursuing careers in the above disciplines.

The report is based on findings of an international seminar run together with the Royal Academy of Engineering with leading educationalists working in schools, academia and industry.

The survey of 1007 people carried out by ICM Unlimited on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, was completed in September 2015.