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UCLan chosen to deliver specialist engineering scheme

University awarded funding to engage Lancashire youngsters in engineering

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has been chosen to deliver a specialist scheme to engage Lancashire youngsters in engineering.

As part of the renowned Ingenious programme, UCLan has been awarded around £28,000 to launch the Future Engineers scheme, a project which will be delivered across the whole of the county.

The innovative project will aim to take engineering out into the community, working with youth groups and community centres. The scheme, which will see children solve engineering challenges at a series of workshops, will also run clubs with Girl Guide groups to encourage girls to engage with engineering and develop a strong interest for a career in the industry.

The workshops will include a LEGOrobotics challenge where participants will be tasked with designing and building a robot. They will then program the robot to successfully complete an obstacle course.

Dr Liz Granger, UCLan’s Public Engagement Manager and Science Festival Director, said: “We are facing a huge skills gap emerging in the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, particularly engineering, both regionally and nationally. We really need to tackle this shortage and train many more highly-skilled engineers.

At the University of Central Lancashire we are trying to encourage young people to consider education and training pathways into STEM through a variety of projects including the Lancashire Science Festival and the UCLan and Ri Young Scientist Centre

"This funding will really help us build on these projects and take engineering out into the community.

"Dr Matt Dickinson, who co-authored the bid, has delivered countless talks and shows to encourage young people to follow his footsteps into engineering. As part of this project he will be sharing his experience and helping to train engineers to go out into the community and support delivery of our engineering clubs.”

As part of the Future Engineers scheme, UCLan engineering academics will be among those experts who will offer their help at the sessions. They will be joined by fellow academics and engineers from local businesses.

Now in its 11th year, the Ingenious programme aims to engage youngsters in innovative projects which will help the UK become the world’s leading nation for engineering innovation, address the current engineering skills crisis in the UK, position engineering at the very heart of UK society and lead the profession.


Stock image called 'girls engineering'

In the UK, the current engineering skills crisis is such that for every 10 engineers who leave the profession, only three replace them. According to The State of Engineering report for 2017, engineering graduate supply falls well short of demand, with an annual shortfall of “at least 20,000.” The report also concludes that less than one in every eight members of the engineering workforce is female, highlighting the importance of the Ingenious scheme to get young women interested in engineering.

The University is currently building a state-of-the-art Engineering Innovation Centre, in the heart of the Preston Campus, which will further establish UCLan as a leader in engineering innovation, and is anticipated to produce an increase of 500 locally trained graduates per year in areas including aerospace, mechanical and energy technologies and engineering. It is set to open in early 2019.

If you are a community group who works with young people and you would like UCLan to run a free engineering club, please contact Liz Granger.

Chris Coughlin | 16 April 2018