People & Skills  

Structuring a creative future for budding engineers

Is the next generation of engineers being put off joining industry because they consider it dull and overly regulated?
 The 21,700m² Velodrome has a capacity of 6,000

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The Institution for Structural Engineers is worried that preconceptions of industry tedium and too many rules could be discouraging would-be engineers.

Traditionally, British engineering has been world-renowned, but an increasing proportion of students studying the subject at British universities are from overseas, with UK students being hampered by poor grasps of maths and science.  

Expedition Engineering Partner, Institution for Structural Engineers member and worker on the 2012 Olympic Velodrome, Chris Wise puts forth the idea that potential young engineers are being discouraged by the fear of working in an overly regulated industry, rather than being driven by creative design and enjoyment.

“Young people may be put off engineering because they can’t see any role models. They need to be inspired, not lectured at. It would be great to change the mindset away from rules and formulae towards infinite possibility, amazing performance and life-enhancing achievement,” Wise stated.

“At the moment, instead of asking young people to visualise engineering as the chance to design something fantastic and futuristic, a spaceship or a self-sustaining city, they are dragged into a world of lumpy objects whose time has passed.”

Institution for Structural Engineers President, John Nolan added:

“Engineers are the creators of tomorrow’s world. Events such as the Olympics, which take place on the world stage and entail the showcasing of purpose built structures, inspire a much needed new generation of engineers.

“London’s recent Olympic success also demonstrates the importance of engineering when it comes to global perceptions of power, competence and ability.”

As part of its campaign to inspire creativity in future engineers, the Institution launched a photography competition to highlight past engineering successes. Models of the world’s most famous landmarks were sent to groups and representatives around the globe tasked with taking the best picture of a model in an incongruous setting.

First prize was a trip to London to attend the Structural Awards 2012 and you can follow the campaigns progression on Twitter - @istructecomp

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