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What is an engineer? New Engineering Day launched to boost understanding

The Royal Academy of Engineering has announced ‘This is Engineering Day’ on 6 November to raise awareness of what an engineer is, after research found it to be one of the least understood careers.

This is Engineering Day is part of the This is Engineering campaign, led by the Royal Academy of Engineering to give more young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to take up engineering careers.

Research carried out by EngineeringUK has found that 76 per cent of young people aged 11-19 do not know enough about what people in engineering do, making it one of the most poorly understood STEM careers.

Even parents are unable to help - 72 per cent do not have a good understanding of the profession either, yet nearly two thirds of 11-16 year olds would consider going to their parents for careers advice.

The findings are all the more important given that the UK is already estimated to have an annual shortfall of up to 59,000 engineers every year. 

Hayaatun Sillem, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“Engineering and technology play an incredible role in shaping the world around us and in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges, from providing a sustainable supply of food, water and clean energy, to advancing healthcare, and keeping us safe and secure. We know that young people increasingly want to tackle these issues and make a difference in the world, but unfortunately the lack of understanding around engineering is stopping them from exploring careers that will enable them to do this.

This matters because we face an estimated shortfall of up to 59,000 engineers each year in the UK, and there is a pressing need to diversify our engineering workforce since only 12 per cent of professional engineers are female and less than 9 per cent are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. Thats why were making 6 November This is Engineering Day, to raise awareness of what an engineer is and celebrate those that are shaping the world we live in. 

For more information and to get involved visit the Royal Academy of Engineering's website

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