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A campaign to inspire more young people to take up careers in engineering, science and technology is being launched today (Thursday) by Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff. Peter - who believes the shortage of engineers is a serious threat to our prosperity and security - has decided to make this a major theme of his work in the Commons over the two years until the next election.
Peter explained,

“During my five years as Chairman of the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee in the last Parliament, and during my two-and-and-half years as a defence minister in this one, the overriding concern I heard expressed time and time again by manufacturing and technology companies was that there just weren’t enough engineers – apprentices and graduates – to meet demand.

“In the 70s, 80s and 90s, engineering got a pretty bad press. The news was dominated by strikes and job losses and it’s hardly surprising that the legacy of that time has had its impact on young people. But now engineering is one of the best paid and most secure careers a young person can choose. And their work is vital not just in the civilian sector, but also in defence. Without British engineers and scientists we would not be able to defend ourselves – it’s that simple.

“The challenge is to inspire more young people to want to be engineers and for them then to make the right choices at GCSE and A level to enable them to pursue their aspirations.

“There is a particular scandal with girls and engineering. However you measure the participation rate by girls in engineering it comes out around 10 or 12% at best - the lowest in the EU. Twenty seventh out of twenty seven. And when Croatia joins, it will be twenty eighth out of twenty eight.”

The first stage of Peter’s campaign is a Ten Minute Rule Bill entitled ‘Science, Technology and Engineering (Schools Careers Information)’ Bill, which Peter will introduce to the House of Commons on 13th February.

Specifically, this Bill is aimed at school aged children and puts an emphasis on schools to provide opportunities and on Local Enterprise Partnerships to ensure the provision of resources for pupils to develop an interest in the long neglected subjects of science, technology and engineering.

Commenting on his Bill Peter said,

“My Bill is a first statement of the sort of things I believe need to be done.

“I am confident that these ideas are supported within Parliament and I hope that my Bill will be the start of a successful campaign to help inspire young people about the possibilities in engineering, science and technology.

“It is important that we help more young people understand the great careers that are available and address the real and very serious skills shortage that we face in this country.”


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