Although the industry has suffered widespread criticism, there has been a general improvement in public attitude towards engineering.

Produced in March, the Public Attitudes report found that despite a lack of quality engineers, people now hold scientists and engineers in high regard. Ninety per cent not only believe engineers make a valuable contribution to society but view them as creative, interesting and open-minded people.

According to an article in The Engineer, this is borne out by Engineering UK’s annual Engineers and Engineering Brand Monitor, which found that for all age-groups ‘interesting’ has triumphed over previous descriptions for engineering, such as ‘dirty’ or ‘messy’ and even the more ambiguous term ‘challenging’.

At a time when the number of engineers moving into the industry is a cause for concern, this increasing interest is backed up by early evaluations of this years’ The Big Bang. Figures suggest it was a record-breaking year for attendees with over 75,000 visitors, including more than 70,000 young people, teachers and parents attending the fair which was held at the NEC in Birmingham. 

In his article in The Engineer, Paul Jackson said; “Over half the key age-group of 11-14 year-olds told us they learnt a lot about engineering, two thirds of young attendees took the opportunity to speak to someone about careers, and more than seven out of ten knew where to go next for more information.”

The number of young people saying a career in engineering is desirable increased by more than 50% compared to the national average.

There has never before been a time when engineering skills, industrial strategy and infrastructure have been so firmly on the agenda for all mainstream political parties.

By working together to sustain positive change in public perceptions and win the hearts and minds of media and Ministers, we can ensure that young people see their future in engineering – and that the UK will have a future as an engineering world-leader.

What are your thoughts about engineering in the UK? Share your views in the comment box below.

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