- Network Rail supports Tomorrow's Engineers Code to promote STEM to young people.
- Research suggest 47 percent of 11-19 years old know very little about what engineers do and consider it a man's profession.
- Without enough students choosing STEM subjects and with aging workforces across the industry, there may well be a skills gap in the not too distant future.
An industry-wide community aimed at making engineering careers more accessible for young people has launched today (Thursday 15 October).
Tomorrow's Engineers Code – created by Engineering UK and supported by Network Rail – will see more than 100 organisations and individuals across the engineering sector work together to promote Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, and change perceptions of careers in engineering.
Engineering UK's 2020 report into educational pathways into engineering found that 47 percent of 11-19 years old knew very little about what engineers do and that they consider it was a man's profession. They also identified that young people doubted their ability to succeed in STEM, with 62 percent of 16-17-year-olds feeling that science and maths were harder than non-STEM subjects.
Lydia Fairman, lead capability and development manager from Network Rail's Technical Authority, said: “There is a deficit of engineers coming into the workplace, not only for Network Rail but across industry. Without enough students choosing STEM subjects and with aging workforces across the industry, there may well be a skills gap in the not too distant future.
“That's why Tomorrow's Engineers Code is so important as it gives us the opportunity to work collaboratively to promote STEM rather than siloes.”
Nick King, director, Network Services, and sponsor of Tomorrow's Engineers Code said: “It's so important that we target our younger generations today for tomorrows railway. Our future workforce depends on our current decisions and initiatives. The Tomorrow's Engineers Code is a step closer in ensuring our future STEM professionals reflect the diverse nature of the communities we continue to serve. It can only better support us in continuing to be customer driven and thus an employer of choice.”
Lydia and her team plan and deliver Network Rail's annual programme of events and campaigns promoting STEM career opportunities. This includes supporting the Big Bang Fair – the UK's largest celebration of science and engineering for young people, going to schools to talk to children as young as five about careers in STEM subjects, and doing online interviews to promote STEM careers within Network Rail. There are also 500 colleagues who volunteer as STEM ambassadors on behalf of Network Rail.