Endorsed by over 150 engineering leaders and celebrities, the new ‘Engineering Kids’ Futures’ report is urging the government to help tackle the UK’s engineering skills shortage by embedding engineering in primary and secondary education.

The report, which has the backing from the likes of Major Tim Peake, Carol Vorderman MBE, will.i.am and representatives from Rolls Royce, Vodafone and the Ministry of Defence, includes recommendations to the UK government to embed engineering in the current curriculum.

The recommendations included within the report include:

  • The National Curriculum – The English schools National Curriculum be reviewed to embed the teaching of engineering, at both primary and secondary education levels.
  • The Design & Technology (D&T) Curriculum – The current D&T curriculum at secondary level be reviewed, to refocus it as an ‘engineering and design’ subject, with a possible rebranding of the subject accordingly.
  • Engineering training for teachers – UK Government endorse, actively promote, signpost and support an engineering package of training aligned with the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework.
  • Bursaries and scholarships – UK Government funded ITT bursaries and scholarships in engineering be reviewed to increase their value and availability.

The report is supported by new IET research which found that 70% of parents believe primary and secondary education doesn’t teach children about the real-life application of the subjects they learn about.

The research also found that:

  • More than half of parents (55%) agree that without formal teaching in engineering and technology (which is the application of subjects such as science and maths), they are worried their child won’t be able to make informed career choices.
  • 69% of parents say its essential primary school children are exposed to engineering and technology at a young age to spark interest in these fields.
  • Almost half of parents (47%) agree that engineering and technology should be a compulsory core subject at GCSE.

David Lakin, IET Head of Education, Safeguarding & Education Policy, said:

“As we know, subjects like science and maths are eagerly taught in schools, but connecting them to engineering – the link between these subjects, their purpose and application to the world in which we live – is not currently being made clear.

“We need to ensure there are clearer learning outcomes for these subjects. Put simply, we need to embed engineering into the mainstream curriculum. One way we can do this is by reviewing the current D&T curriculum, which is a key engineering and technology gateway subject, and give it more importance in the EBacc suite of subjects.

“There are many options, and the engineering community is ready to help develop and implement these to support government in implementing these recommendations. Our aim to significantly increase the number of quality engineers and technicians entering the workforce can only be achieved by letting young people see the opportunities that a career in the engineering sector presents.”

Jordan Knapp, Lead Design Engineer and Chair of Morson Projects’ Early Careers Development Programme commented:

“To have engineering form a clear and visible part of the National Curriculum would be a huge step forward into educating, enticing and engaging the next generation of engineers.

“As a country, the UK has struggled with the volume of people following engineering careers for decades now and I feel these recommendations could make significant real-world impact on the industry long-term.

 “We as a company are fully embracing this with our engagement into STEM initiatives, as well as leading the way with tertiary (post-secondary) education through Early Careers Development Programme.” 

Jon Callahan, one of our Principal Engineer and an internal Morson Projects STEM Ambassador added:

“In addition to Jordan’s observations, there were some key statistics I picked up during my recent IMechE STEM Ambassador training:

  • 79% of 11–14-year old’s don’t know what an Engineer does
  • 69% of parents don’t know what an Engineering does
  • and amazingly 42% of teachers don’t know what an Engineer does

“As such, I believe we need to start linking engineering throughout the entire curriculum; Why can’t a geometry lesson be taught whilst designing furniture? Why can we not build a physical model in physics whilst learning about natural frequencies? Why can’t chemistry be taught through cooking?

“Embracing engineering throughout the curriculum is essential in attracting and developing future engineers, and I look forward to continue advocating this message as part of Morson Projects wider STEM activities and ambitions.”

Download the report from the IET website here >