IMECHE logoImechE, the fastest growing professional engineering institution in the UK, with100,000 members working in the world’s most important and dynamic industries, has a range of programmes for young people at primary as well as secondary schools. This needs to be more widely known and emulated.

Too little, FAR too late

We recently reported on the British Chambers of Commerce call for Chancellor George Osborne to focus on youth employment, training and enterprise in his Budget speech, in order to secure Britain’s future, but this focuses on the 16+ age group.

Skills training at 16+ comes far too late for thousands of young people in inner city areas of high unemployment who need to be reached in primary school, before their outlook is formed by the apparently ‘cool’ disaffected peers who will be their only ‘real life’ role models.

Leicester MP Liz Kendall explains: “If your parents don’t work, or if no-one in your family has been to college or university, you’re more likely to end up in the same situation when you’re an adult, too  . . . to boost children’s chances . . . we need to open their eyes and minds to the different options that are possible when they grow up”.

A professional engineer sent news of the work of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

imeche graduateTheir Schools Ambassadors are involved in many activities geared towards inspiring the next generation and challenging the misconceptions which exist about careers in engineering.

By reaching outside their own classroom, teachers and lecturers collaborate across subjects, enhance and enrich the school curriculum, make links with the world of work, and use varied contexts to help young people relate school STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) to their real-world experience.

Feedback from staff after a series of IMechE visits to a primary school near Leeds

“The children were challenged and focused throughout the project, linking ideas together through different experiences and through the support of practising engineers.  They gained knowledge and understanding not only of different engineering techniques and scientific theory but also in skills like working in a team and communication.The project was a great way for the children to combine the development of engineering skills with their fascination with all things related to historical violence! With the support of the Network Rail engineers, the children gained a real understanding of pivots, elasticity and their application in the modern and historical world. The project also made many of them consider engineering as a possible future career because of the challenge and reward that they experienced.”

One of the tasks set on these visits

imeche flood

Such opportunities should extended to all sectors

We end by referring to just one of many potential primary school visitors whose work might appeal to those with other aptitudes.

imeche other baker

In the Birmingham Press, Ros Dodd reported that former NHS nutritionist Tom Baker, who built his own wood-fired clay bread oven, now has a thriving bakery in Stirchley with six paid workers.

There are varieties of gifts and varieties of service: the very least we can do for those in areas of high unemployment is to show what is possible, what is interesting and what will bring ‘job satisfaction’.


Next: aspirations raised at Park Primary School in Leicester.