This is Engineering campaign works with young engineers to compile a list of engineering wonders as research shows misconceptions about the profession could be preventing young people finding their dream career
The list was drawn up with input from a range of experts and a panel drawn from the Academy’s programmes for young engineers. It is part of the This is Engineering campaign, which aims to raise awareness of the breadth of careers in engineering and to help address the significant engineering skills and diversity shortfall that is holding back growth and productivity across the UK economy.
The list of engineering wonders is as follows (see Editor’s Notes for further details):
The list was also informed by a survey of 2,000 11-18 year olds’ attitudes to and awareness of engineering careers and industries. Just 14% of teenagers were aware of engineering roles in the music industry, such as audio, recording and live sound engineering, and only 8% were aware that the sports and food and drink industries rely heavily on engineers.
Despite owning or using many engineered products or services, most teenagers were unaware that engineering was involved in designing and creating them. More than two thirds of teenagers own a pair of trainers or sports shoes, but only 20% were aware that they are designed by engineers. More than half of teens use Facebook and YouTube, yet less than 16% were aware that these have been created by engineers.
The research showed that young people tend to have a stereotypical view of engineering. More than half of those surveyed correctly listed famous construction projects such as the Eiffel Tower, London Underground and the Shard as examples of engineering, but less than 20% were aware that social media apps such as SnapChat and Spotify have been developed by engineers.
Professor Mark Miodownik MBE FREng, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and engineering broadcaster and writer, says: “Engineering plays an essential part in everyday life, from the water we drink to the gadgets we use, and it’s also vital to addressing the challenges of the future. However, our survey shows that many young people don’t associate engineering with the technology they use day to day, and the things they’re interested in, which could mean they miss out on the opportunities to change the world as an engineer. We hope our list of surprising, 21st Century engineering wonders will inspire today’s teenagers and give them new opportunities.”