The Royal Academy of Engineering undertakes a range of activities to ensure that engineering is at the heart of policy-making, providing authoritative, impartial advice and expertise.
It brings together leading engineers from across all disciplines to work together on issues of national and global importance.
The Academy has recruited Corina Kwami to lead a project with the Infrastructure and Projects Authority looking at the key interdependencies between housing and infrastructure provision in new, largescale housing developments and applying a system’s approach to working collaboratively.
If anyone is interested in being involved in this eight-month project they should email Corina.Kwami@raeng.org.uk
The UK education system cannot produce enough engineers to support the economy, especially with increasing reliance on home-grown talent post-Brexit, according to a report published today.
Led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, Engineering Skills for the Future – the 2013 Perkins review revisited finds numerous barriers to addressing the annual shortfall of 59,000 engineers and technicians in the UK workforce, including narrow post-16 education options, teacher shortages and an overly restrictive Apprenticeship Levy.
The report, produced by Education for Engineering, an engineering education and skills policy body led by the Academy, examined multiple stages of the education and skills system. In schools, it found that while pupil numbers have increased since 2015, teacher numbers for maths, science, computer science and design and technology have not kept pace, and government plans do not go far enough towards addressing recruitment and retention challenges. It also warns that the current post-16 academic system is too narrow and closes the door for many young people to technical and creative careers.
In higher education, where engineering is a high-cost subject that requires top-up grant funding and cross-subsidy, introducing differential fees could have a disastrous effect on take up of engineering degrees, the report says. It also identifies challenges with the Apprenticeship Levy, which while welcome, is underspent and difficult to navigate for employers, especially SMEs, and finds the engineering profession is missing out on valuable existing talent by not addressing bias in recruitment, progression and retention.
To address these challenges, the report recommends:
- Government should review the issues affecting recruitment and retention of teachers and go beyond plans announced this week by introducing a requirement for 40 hours of subject-specific continuing professional development for all teachers of STEM subjects, not just new recruits, every year.
- An urgent review of post-16 academic education pathways for England is needed. Young people should have the opportunity to study mathematics, science and technology subjects along with arts and humanities up to the age of 18, to attract a broader range of young people into engineering.
- Government must ensure engineering courses are adequately funded with increased top-up grants for engineering departments if tuition fees are to be reduced.
- Government should give employers greater control and flexibility in how they spend the Apprenticeship Levy, including to support other high-quality training provision in the workplace, such as improving the digital skills of the workforce.
- Professional engineering organisations and employers should address the need to up-skill engineers and technicians to prepare for the introduction of disruptive digital technologies into industry.
- Employers should take an evidence-based and data driven approach to improve recruitment and increase retention and progression of underrepresented groups within organisations, including by introducing recruitment targets for underrepresented groups.
The 2013 Review of Engineering Skills by Professor John Perkins CBE FREng, commissioned by government, was a landmark report that reviewed engineering education from primary to professional for the first time. Engineering Skills for the Future – the 2013 Perkins review revisited is an independent report from the engineering profession led by a group chaired by Professor Perkins. It revisits the challenges highlighted in the original Perkins Review, and sets out a roadmap for government and the engineering community that identifies urgent priorities for action.
The report concludes that if the industrial strategy is to achieve its aims, government must nurture and grow its skilled engineering workforce to improve productivity and economic growth. Since the original Perkins Review, the report found that scant progress in addressing the UK’s chronic engineering skills gap has been made and calls on government and the engineering community to take urgent action.
Professor John Perkins CBE, FREng (Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering), who led this report, said:
“Engineering is enormously valuable to the UK economy but suffers from a chronic shortage of skills, let down by the education system that removes the option of an engineering career for too many young people at each stage of their education. There has been little progress in addressing the UK’s engineering skills gap since I first reviewed the education system five years ago, but the government’s Year of Engineering campaign in 2018 has shown what can be achieved with concerted and coordinated action. As a profession, we must now continue to raise the profile of engineering nationally and leverage this to galvanise change for the better.
“We need to broaden the curriculum for post-16 education, value technical education on a par with academic progression, unlock more potential from the Apprenticeship Levy, and guarantee affordable, fair and inclusive access to engineering degrees. These changes have the potential to pay dividends in the years to come for young people, the economy, and society.”
Dame Judith Hackitt, DBE, FREng (Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering), Chair of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:
“Today’s report is welcome but it is disappointing that it has taken five years to get to this point since the publication of the first Perkins report. It does reinforce, however, the need to desperately increase the pipeline of domestic talent into engineering ready for a post-Brexit world. The report shows that we have barely moved the dial on plugging the engineering skills gap in the last five years and now is the time for less talk which is taking place through a multitude of initiatives and more action by industry and education work together.
“In particular, there is a need to radically reform technical education – creating an Apprenticeship Levy system that is fit for the future and genuinely meets employers’ needs. We also to ensure T Levels do not face the same fate as the Levy but are employer-led and driven and, sufficiently funded in disciplines such as manufacturing and engineering.
“Finally, we need to shout from the rooftops that vocational education in the digital age is as credible and valuable as academic routes and can supply our economy with the much needed talent from Generation Z for the future. Far from offering two separate routes, academic and technical education should be seen as intertwined, serving the demands of industry who are looking for a mix of vocational and academic learning to provide the innovators, creators and makers of the future. This should be accompanied by more joined up collaborative action building on the good practice we’ve seen during Year of Engineering.”
Juergen Maier CBE, FREng (Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering) and CEO of Siemens UK said:
“We need to invest more in our young potential engineers, critically preparing them for the wave of economic disruption that digital technology will create. Put simply we need more STEM teachers in our system to inspire and create more opportunities for young people. And we all know our impending exit from the EU – however it transpires – makes this issue more, not less acute. This review is therefore extremely timely.
We also need to focus on the existing workforce ensuring they are ready for digital disruption and can prepare to take on new roles in programming and digital design. Better vocational training for adults is a necessity for UK PLC.”
The publication of the report coincides with the launch of a new set of adverts from This is Engineering, a campaign to raise awareness of the breadth of careers in engineering, and give more young people from all backgrounds, the opportunity to take up an exciting, rewarding and in-demand career. The campaign is led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, in collaboration with EngineeringUK and corporate partners, and was developed in response to a recommendation in the 2013 skills review. For further information please see www.raeng.org.uk/education/this-is-engineering.
These are exciting times for policy work at the Royal Academy of Engineering, Britain’s national academy for engineering, which brings together the UK’s most eminent engineers from all disciplines to promote excellence in engineering.
- Closing date for applications: Midday Thursday 7 February 2019
- Interview date: Wednesday 27 February 2019
- Up to £63,000 per annum depending on experience + excellent benefits
Engineering is at the heart of our nation and our future: transforming ideas and materials into global infrastructure, products and services that increase the wealth and health of our economy and society.
The UK faces a range of complex challenges from energy and transport to data and AI and the benefits and risks brought by disruptive technologies.
Engineers have much to bring to these challenges, and as the UK’s national Academy for Engineering we have extraordinary access to the very best minds in Engineering through our remarkable Fellowship and wide networks, giving us a unique platform from which to inform public policy.
We are looking for an outstanding Head of Engineering Policy as we significantly expand the scope and ambition of our work, collaborating closely with partners across the engineering profession through a new Engineering Policy Centre, to raise the visibility and impact of Engineering on public policy.
Dr Nick Starkey, Director of Policy at Royal Academy of Engineering said; “I think it is a genuinely terrific job, requiring a blend of leadership and policy expertise, and the right candidate might not be found in the most obvious places.”
The successful candidate will lead a talented team to drive and deliver a vibrant and engaging programme, engaging policy makers at all levels.
This is first and foremost a leadership role, but one which also offers real intellectual excitement and privileged access to some of the country’s best minds. It is a rare opportunity to really make a mark, to grow your own profile both within a vital profession and amongst senior figures in the policy world, and to secure real change.
If you would like to know more, please download the recruitment pack: Head-of-Engineering-Policy-Recruitment-Pack
New checklist and data sharing case studies published by the Royal Academy of Engineering to guide organisations
Engineering, business and governance challenges need to be addressed if the UK is to break down the barriers to sharing personal and non-personal data without eroding trust between organisations, according to a report published yesterday by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The report uses real-world examples to demonstrate the critical role of engineering in developing innovative data sharing approaches.
Data sharing is widely recognised by government and other stakeholders as a key enabler for unlocking the value of data, estimated at up to £60billion a year to the UK economy and an important part of the government’s Digital Strategy.
Some organisations work on collecting, storing and processing data to improve their own business processes or create new products and services. The report found that opportunities to create value increase when data is shared or exchanged across organisational boundaries, but that mechanisms that build trust needed to be put in place to share commercially sensitive or personal data.
The report also indicates that data is only valuable if it is managed well, and that a robust data engineering approach is needed to assemble, structure and manage data over its entire life-cycle in a way that also meets the business requirement to release its value. In the case studies this approach was found to aid data exploration, interoperability, provenance tracking and quality assurance. The report identifies the challenges involved in growing data sharing capabilities, including establishing good data management that underpins effective and appropriate use of data. Engineering best practice and effective collaboration with other disciplines are both highlighted in the case studies as ways to address these issues.
A further finding of the report is that engineering is vital to develop the enabling functions of data sharing, such as identity management, managing access and usage constraints, monetisation, and anonymisation and privacy enhancements. These functions are shown to help to address business, legal and ethical requirements.
Professor Jim Norton FREng, Chair of the working group that prepared the report, said:
“This is a crucial time in the development of a data economy, and engineering has an important role to play. More needs to be done to raise awareness of the opportunities of data sharing, to progress approaches to data sharing and guidance, and to share best practice. We need to work globally to build the data, ethical and privacy architectures to support appropriate data sharing and recognise the value of linked datasets.”
The report illustrates ways in which data sharing can release value through 10 case studies that provide a snapshot of mainly non-personal data sharing activities from manufacturing and logistics, energy, infrastructure, aerospace, smart cities, transport, health, and consumer applications. The case studies show how engineering fundamentals, such as architectures and technologies, work alongside governance and the development of business models. The Academy has developed a best practice checklist based on these case studies to guide organisations through the main areas for consideration when developing data-sharing solutions.
For more information please contact: Victoria Runcie at the Royal Academy of Engineering Tel. 020 7766 0620; email: Victoria.Runcie@raeng.org.uk
 Centre for Economics and Business Research, ‘The Value of Big Data and the Internet of Things to the UK Economy’ SAS:2016, page 5