Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Anyone Can Engineer: Inspiring the Next Generation

Anyone Can Engineer is a student-led project which began at the start of 2020 to address the inequalities and misconceptions of the engineering industry through engaging young people with engineering related activities. We began working after attending a SELA workshop on, “Finding A Career you Love” by Lisa Cox from Life Compass Consulting. 

We created a PDF resource that highlighted different engineering roles within Engineering. The initial intention of the project was to form a website where resources could be collated from industry

professionals and activities or quizzes could be held. The project has since expanded into designing workshops and competitions as well as more interactive activities, directly with schoolchildren in and around Sheffield through collaboration with community youth groups.

Team Vision

Our Team vision is to empower young people with the right tools and experiences they need to discover
their potential in engineering.

Our values

Inclusion: As a team, inclusion is crucial. We think it is important that every member of the team is heard and valued.

Trust: For us, trust is important. This has developed through our working practices. We know we can trust each other to do the work we say we will, or to let the others know if there is some reason we can’t.

Flexibility: We have identified constructive behaviours to ensure obstacles are removed and full support is given through action planning and identifying countermeasures.

Proactivity: Individual team members will volunteer to carry out work which meets their individual skills and interests.

Diversity: Diversity in engineering is important to us. The focus of this project is to convince people that anyone can become an engineer, whatever their background; differences are celebrated.

Project aims and goals

We aim to debunk stereotypes within engineering and spread awareness to give students a better understanding of the breadth of careers one could do with engineering. We plan to do so through circulating our PDF resource to schools which highlights the different roles (e.g. creator, entrepreneur etc.) within engineering unlike specific sub-disciplines. (e.g. Mechanical, civil engineering etc.)

Future plans

As young people are spending more time at home, we have spent the start of this year designing mini competitions for students to get involved with. An example of this is creating a parachute from household materials for the safe landing of an egg. This encourages young people to visualise what engineering can look like within their homes and allows them to work on a project outside of their school lives. In order to promote our competitions and prizes that come with it, we have created social media channels which we are in the process of building up a presence on to target content at young people. From our research, we found that students want to hear from people within the engineering industry and those that study it which is why our next focus is on interviewing our industry contacts and allowing young people to ask them the questions they really want to know the answers to. All of this information will be hosted on our website alongside further resources including that in relation to the 10 engineering roles PDF. To showcase at the virtual ‘Get Up to Speed with STEM’ festival, we are in the process of converting our engineering roles into an interactive quiz which is open to all. In the future, we also plan to convert our resources and activities into targeted workshops that we can make available to youth and community groups and take to STEM festivals such as the Big Bang Fair.

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