I’m not sure that my son would be quite so far up the career ladder had it not been for the DofE’s youth award scheme and the various challenges and volunteering, which required a lot of hard work and even some soul-searching on his part.
The DofE sets objectives, including learning new skills, physical activities and completing adventurous expeditions that - in my eyes at least - align themselves to the training of certain engineering disciplines. It begs the question: why aren’t more young people interested in pursuing a career in engineering?
Among many issues are the lack of ‘science education’ being taught in primary schools, with some school teachers suggesting that science has become less of a curriculum priority. Surely it's not ‘science’ that gets our children fired up about engineering, but actually ‘making’ something? Give children more practical engineering-based projects to do and you might well see a big upswell in interest.
Waiting until schoolchildren reach teenage years to get their first taste of manufacturing technology is too late because their career choices are being made much earlier in the school curriculum.
Maybe we don't have enough teachers with the right manufacturing engineering backgrounds? Maybe engineering is perceived as a difficult subject that puts children off? Or maybe there’s too much health & safety-related pressure on schools and teachers to remove all the possibilities of an industrial accident?
If you’ll pardon the pun, I’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s a shame there’s something stopping many of today’s children - and tomorrow’s potential engineers - doing the same.
Mike Richardson, editor