ENGINEERING SKILLS MEASURES SUPPORTED BY COMMONS
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ENGINEERING SKILLS MEASURES SUPPORTED BY COMMONS

Peter Luff’s campaign to inspire more young people to take up careers in science, technology and engineering got formally underway today as he introduced his Ten Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons. It received a warm reception by Members of Parliament from both sides of the House.

The MP’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, ‘Science, Technology and Engineering (Schools Careers Information)’ Bill, is aimed at inspiring school-aged children to take up, engineering careers. It puts an emphasis on schools to provide opportunities - and on Local Enterprise Partnerships to help pupils - to develop an interest in science, technology and engineering.

In his speech Peter said,

“Recent experience has shown me that the shortage of engineering and technological skills is one of the greatest avoidable threats to our nation’s prosperity and security.

“What I am trying to do in the Bill is simple and focussed - to increase demand from young people, to make them more enthusiastic about pursuing STEM subjects and careers, whether as apprentices or graduates.

“To inspire them about the possibilities in engineering, science and technology.

“To show them by practical example and experience while at school that engineering and technology are exciting and important careers.

“And then to sustain that interest throughout their time at school.”

He went on to say,

“To succeed in this we need to repeat three key messages:

• Designing, making and building things matters and provides real job satisfaction – Old truths that are being rediscovered
• Careers in engineering and technology are now well paid
• Engineering has change as technology has developed – it’s now about problem solving not oily rags

“Considerable practical outreach activity is directed at school key stages 3 and 4; some estimates suggest there are over 3,000 schemes reaching out to these age groups across the country.

“But the reach of these schemes is worryingly patchy – there are hotspots of overlapping activity and deserts of inactivity and unless pupils towards the end of Key Stage 2 – say ages 10 and 11 - realise the importance of doing well in Maths and Physics, they will never be able to purse engineering or science careers.

“At its simplest we need to inspire boys and girls at a much younger age to want to do well in the two subjects of maths and physics.

“Perhaps the single greatest need is to make more girls want to do physics.”

Peter concluded his speech,

“With my A level Physics and Maths I too should have been an engineer – but, to my continuing regret, no one told me at the right time about the exciting careers in engineering.

“I don’t want ignorance of the opportunity to be a reason for more young people to make the same mistake I did.”

After leaving the Chamber, Peter said,

“I am very pleased with the reception my bill got from MPs all sides of the House – this shows an understanding of the real problem we face in the UK with a shortage of scientists and engineers.

“I also very encouraged to see the Skills Minister, Matthew Hancock, in the Chamber to hear my speech.

“Although the Bill isn’t going to make it onto the statute book, I know it has stimulated debate within the Government. I look forward to working with ministers to take my ideas forward.

“This Bill is the start of what I hope will be a successful two year personal campaign to get young people interested in science and engineering. I am delighted by the positive reaction to this first step.”

ENDS


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