It doesn’t get any more official than this – the UK Government has declared 2018 as the Year of Engineering. Everyone from museums to schools to multinational corporations are working in the UK and the US to get more young people, particularly female and minority students, involved in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Throughout the year, various organizations are planning, funding, and hosting events aimed at children and teens in hopes to change the perception of engineering – instead of nerdy, boring, computer work, they want to show engineering as the dynamic, interesting, varied field that it truly is.
The concept spread quickly outside of the UK as others embrace the idea of showing off engineering and recruiting future engineers to fill the growing demand. Everything from career fairs, to engineering workshops, to LEGO feats of architecture and engineering at a US museum, the events are being held to showcase the fun opportunities in engineering.
Some organizations are partnering with museums in the US to facilitate growth and enthusiasm in STEM. Ingersoll Rand presented the Science Museum of Minnesota with an Energy Efficiency Leader award and a $30,000 grant to invest in educating students at the museum.
In Louisville, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering chose this year to add to their community STEM programs by hosting their first Girls Rule STEM Summit, an opportunity for girls in grades 5-12 to learn about STEM content and to interact with women in engineering. The University of Kentucky also hosts STEM education events, such as their annual See Blue STEM camp. All around Kentucky, there are events to help educate and encourage young people to get involved in these fields.
On our side of the pond, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of science and engineering jobs will grow faster than the overall workforce from 2016 to 2026. In that ten-year period, there will be 853,600 new jobs, and there will be openings for 6.033 million due to the new growth and the usual exits and transfers that occur in the workforce.
This year’s focus on engineering as a career for a diverse population with varied interests could help close the labor gap in engineering. Throughout this year, we will also be celebrating the Year of Engineering with posts about important topics in STEM. Check out our blog for posts on topics like women in STEM and hear from our engineers!
UK Year of Engineering Website
US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Science Museum of Minnesota
University of Louisville
University of Kentucky