Where is the Love in engineering?

Posted by er134 at Sep 15, 2015 11:55 AM |
University of Leicester engineer joins will.i.am on international stage to address upcoming engineering skills gap

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 15 September 2015

Contact pressoffice@le.ac.uk to request images.

The UK is predicting a ‘skills gap’ of approximately half a million engineers by 2022, mainly due to retirements, according to the University of Leicester’s Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, FREng.

Professor Atkinson, alongside international superstar, coach on BBC’s The Voice and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, will be discussing the challenges caused by a gap in engineering skills during the Global Grand Challenges Summit in Beijing, China.

Engineering graduates leave university as highly skilled and numerate individuals, making them attractive to a number of other professions including management and accountancy - however, this can leave a real gap in terms of the number of graduates entering the field of engineering.

Professor Atkinson, Head of the University of Leicester’s Department of Engineering said: “We produce 10,500 UK-based engineering graduates, and 5,000 international engineering graduates in the UK annually, which is just a drop in the ocean compared to the skills gap. With many professionals facing retirement over the next few years, if we can’t recruit more students to STEM subjects, we will be lacking professionals with the knowledge to build a bridge or fly a plane.

“Engineering seems to have an image problem in the UK which we really need to address. Engineers are often seen as being uninterested in human relationships, which just isn’t the case. At Leicester, we strive to teach our students the necessary wisdom and knowledge, in a supportive environment; after all you don’t want to have to cross a bridge built by an engineer who doesn’t know the correct load bearing equation.”

On 15-16 September, Professor Atkinson will address an international audience from the UK, US and China, during the Global Grand Challenges Summit. The summit, which will bring together the national academies of engineering from the UK, US and China, will explore some of the grand challenges we are currently facing, including the skills gap, and look at the role engineering can play in tackling global challenges such as climate change.

Professor Atkinson’s talk, ‘The beginnings of wisdom: Challenges in engineering education’, will explore the role of universities in helping their students to gain wisdom alongside knowledge.

Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma will be delivering the plenary session and will.i.am will be tackling the challenge of ‘the joy of living’.

Professor Atkinson added: “will.i.am is known for being passionate in supporting the education of young people in STEM subjects. I am of course excited to be on the same stage as such a well-known figure.

“This summit is an important gathering of senior academics and industrialists and I am very honoured to have been invited by the Royal Academy of Engineering to speak there. I am really passionate about ensuring we provide education for young people which equips them with the relevant knowledge to enable them to succeed in the engineering industry, but also with the ‘beginnings of wisdom’ which is so important for life.”

Professor Atkinson will be discussing these challenges on Wednesday 16 September as part of the Global Challenges Summit in Beijing, China. For more information, visit: http://ggcs2015.cae.cn/down/program.pdf

Ends

NOTES TO NEWSDESK

For more information, contact Professor Atkinson via: hva2@le.ac.uk

For further information about the Global Grand Challenges Summit, visit: http://ggcs2015.cae.cn/index.html

Please note that Professor Atkinson is in Beijing- please email her with your contact details if you wish to conduct an interview.

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