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Viewpoint: Ready to spread the word

The time is right to engineer the UK, says EngineeringUK chief executive Paul Jackson

EngineeringUK is the new name for the Engineering and Technology Board. The title clearly labels us as an essential body to promote the work of engineers, engineering and technology. It also reflects a real change of approach over the past year.

Despite the name change, EngineeringUK is still an independent, not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to promote the vital contribution that engineers, engineering and technology make to our society, and inspire people to pursue careers in engineering and technology.

Communication is at the heart of what we do as we aim to tell young people and those who influence them of the value of engineering to society and the benefits of engineering careers. Working with partners in the engineering institutions, business and industry and the education sector, we have focused on three core strands.

The first core strand, The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists’ and Engineers’ Fair, has seen real success in 2009. Bringing together the efforts of over 50 organisations and attracting 6,500 visitors, the Fair achieved high profile media coverage on GMTV, the BBC’s Today Programme and, more significantly for our young target audience, online too.

It features the National Science & Engineering Competition, a real celebration of the talents developing in the next generation. Our ambitions for The Big Bang are particularly high, with the 2010 Fair doubling in size, attracting over 13,000 visitors. Taking place at Manchester Central from 11 to 13 March, it will also once again feature the high profile National Science & Engineering Competition finals and awards ceremony.

The second strand, Tomorrow’s Engineers, is a joint initiative by EngineeringUK and the Royal Academy of Engineering. It supports organisations that provide engineering enrichment and enhancement activities to supplement the curriculum. Bringing together various programmes that work with over 200,000 students, Tomorrow’s Engineers will target hard to reach schools across the country.

The third strand, EngineeringUK’s Communications Hub , is now taking shape, delivering briefing papers and press releases informed by discussions with our four expert advisory panels as well as holding a number of business, industry and policy discussions and activities at the House of Commons and in the devolved nations.

A large part of our work this year will be working with the professional engineering institutions and that of course includes the ICE on projects such as The Big Bang, NSEW and Engineering the Future. EngineeringUK is delighted to have ICE’s Tom Foulkes as a member of our board and will be looking for ways to work increasingly closely together.

At EngineeringUK we believe engineers and engineering will play a key role in addressing the global challenges of the 21st Century. We also believe that working in partnership can help a good idea go a long way. Together we can build on the current opportunities and raise the profile of engineering in all its forms.

  • Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK − the revamped Engineering and Technology Board

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