A new initiative to help tackle the shortage of skilled engineers by encouraging children, from nursery age onwards, to understand more about this career path was launched on 24th November.
‘Enjoyment to Employment’ is an educational programme at London Transport Museum, offering the chance for children (from toddlers to teenagers) to engage with a range of skills and employability activities that enthuse them about the world of work. The initiative aims to maintain the enthusiasm that children usually have for engineering and transport when they are young and highlight the jobs and opportunities that a career in transport and engineering offers.
The wide-ranging programme includes active and immersive sessions at the Museum and in schools which make it clear how science, technology, engineering and mathematics can provide the practical know-how and attitudes that are useful for employment.
Young children will be encouraged to play and interact with real engineering equipment and objects including hard hats, uniforms, dispatch batons, pieces of track, and specialist testing equipment.
Sessions at the Museum will target pre-school and early primary school children by letting them participate in activities including mending vehicles, helping passengers with travel information and dressing up as drivers and engineers. Participants, including children of nursery age, will also meet people currently working in the transport and engineering sectors.
Speaking at the launch, London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, said: “We are facing a skills shortage within the transport industry and it is vital that we work together to tackle this challenge. Capturing the imagination and curiosity of children is part of the solution. We need more schemes to ensure that children from an early age are inspired to pursue a career in engineering.”
Sam Mullins, Director of London Transport Museum, said: “the new initiative will provide hands-on activities to over 7,000 pre-schoolers, acting as a bridge between children and young people and industry. This will be the first time that engineering classes will really be offered to children of primary and nursery age helping both parents and teachers understand the opportunities offered by transport and engineering. This target will be in addition to over 145,000 children and young people that already participate in education programmes provided by the Museum.
Experts say that it is vital to give children and young people hands-on experiences if they are to really engage in a subject. London Transport Museum does this using its collection and by working in partnership with industry putting children in touch with real life role models.
Steve Scrimshaw, Managing Director of Siemens Rail Systems UK agrees that schemes such as Enjoyment to Employment are “vital in helping to sustain the enthusiasm that all children and young people have for transport.
Over half of all businesses expect difficulty in recruiting STEM skilled staff in the next three years and it will only get harder unless we take action now. The industry needs to work together to ensure children of all ages are excited about engineering and all the career opportunities it offers – Steve Scrimshaw, Managing Director of Siemens Rail Systems UK
“Over half of all businesses expect difficulty in recruiting STEM skilled staff in the next three years and it will only get harder unless we take action now. The industry needs to work together to ensure children of all ages are excited about engineering and all the career opportunities it offers.”
A recent report by Engineering UK concluded that Britain needs 69,000 more engineers than it is currently producing every year just to meet industry demand. London Transport Museum believes that while there is much excellent work being done with A-level and Undergraduate students, the best way to increase the numbers and diversity of young people considering careers in transport and engineering is to start young, harnessing a child’s early enthusiasm for transport.