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Engineering - what's that?

Ekevall, E. and Hayward, L. and Hayward, G. and MacBride, G. and Magill, J. and Spencer, E. (2009) Engineering - what's that? In: SEFI Annual Conference 2009: 'Attracting Young People to Engineering: Engineering is Fun', 2009-07-01. (Unpublished)

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Engineering the Future (EtF) aims to develop a sustainable model of activities and interactions among researchers, policy makers and practitioners that develops pupils’ understanding of the nature of engineering, embeds experiences of engineering within the school classroom and curriculum and promotes engineering as a career.One barrier to young people entering engineering is inadequate awareness of the nature ofengineering and its diverse career paths. Many pupils in the participating schools had no awareness of engineering or very limited awareness. 65% had never considered engineering as a career choice.1st year electronic and electrial engineering students at the universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow identified family links as a key factor in encouraging them to study engineering. They also traced interest in engineering to particular school classroom experiences. Discussions with careers guidance staff revealed that careers guidance is almost entirely responsive to pupil requests: only occasionally will pupils who are good at science and mathematics be directed towards engineering.The current situation leaves almost all school pupils uninformed about the nature of engineering.The paper describes how the EtF project seeks to redress the situation by developing classroom engineering experiences, working to embed engineering formally in the curriculum and providing resources for active careers advice.