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Majority would encourage young people into engineering

08 November 2015

A poll of a cross-section of UK residents found more people would encourage a young person to become an engineer rather than a doctor, accountant or banker.

Peter Finegold

A new Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ poll of a representative cross-section of 1,000 members of the public found that 86 percent would encourage a young person to become an engineer.

Of the four options offered, engineering was the most popular at 86 percent, with 80 percent saying they would encourage a young person to become a doctor, 56 percent an accountant, and just 36 percent who said they would encourage a young person to become a banker.

“The results of this poll are both encouraging and surprising," says Peter Finegold (pictured), head of education and skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. "We face a shortfall of 30,000 qualified engineers every year coming through our education system. This result suggests however that basic demand is there and that the public already has some understanding of the extraordinarily diverse and valuable careers available in engineering.

“Getting more young people into engineering isn’t just about helping people to pursue exciting careers, but about ensuring the UK has the right skills to enable the country to prosper.

“Much more needs to be done to ensure we get the growth in UK engineers this country needs, through better careers advice, establishing better links between schools and local employers, and a fundamental rethink in the education system to boost Science Engineering Technology and Maths (STEM) education in schools.”

The poll is released ahead of the Institution’s new research set for release later this year called Big Ideas in Engineering Education which looks at radical new thinking to boost the number of people pursuing STEM careers. The report is based on findings of an international seminar run together with the Royal Academy of Engineering, with leading educationalists working in schools, academia and industry.

The survey of 1,007 people carried out by ICM Unlimited on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, was completed in September 2015.


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