My brother is a primary school teacher.

Recently he took a group of his year 6 pupils to Germany on a school trip.

Whilst there, he got chatting to the German Headmaster of the school and asked him, amongst other things, why the German Education system has not been changed for the best part of 40 years.

The Headteachers answer spoke volumes about the philosophy of Germany and its people….

“Because it works”.

Spot on.

So the conversation continues and my brother starts talking about different careers that students are exposed to whilst at primary school and then at High school age in Germany.

What struck him was the reverence in which the Headteacher (and most of German society) held Engineers.

They are quite rightly held in the same esteem as Doctors and Lawyers.

To me, this makes complete sense, given that in everyday life you cannot look around and not see something that has been engineered in some way.

Engineering and manufacturing is vital as a wealth creator for the economy and has been instrumental in all technological advancements and developments known to man, many medical too.

In Germany, society completely understands the value that engineering adds – to society.

So engineering and manufacturing creates wealth, jobs, skills and benefits society.

Why then in the UK does our society not revere engineers in the same way as our European counterparts?

Mainly, I believe, because it is so misunderstood.

Decades old, dated perceptions of industry still prevail amongst influencers of young people, for example many teachers, careers advisors and parents.

Generations have been encouraged to seek a career in other professions, or go to University as opposed to further education as part of an Apprenticeship.

It’s time to change these outdated perceptions and misinformation.

Mainly because they are totally incorrect. More so, because we need a thriving engineering and manufacturing sector that can attract and retain the best young talent.

And furthermore, because unlike those that wish to become a doctor or a lawyer, if a young person does want to become a mechanical engineer for example, in most cases they risk wasting 3 years plus of their life at University and would be much better off pursuing an Apprenticeship instead.

The West Midlands was the birth place of the industrial revolution. Not enough people know we’re now experiencing the 4th plus iterations of this (automation, advanced manufacturing, Industry 4.0).

If they did, they’d understand this is high value-added manufacturing at its’ best going on here now. The UK continues to be, quite rightly renowned globally for engineering innovation, problem solving and ingenuity.

We have rich Aerospace, Automotive, Motorsport, Medical, Built Environment and other manufacturing supply chains that contain thousands of companies innovating, investing and employing millions of skilled people.

It’s time to help change perceptions and provide a platform for manufacturers to be able to gain the visibility they need amongst local young people, inspiring more of them into the sector and into their Apprenticeships.

This is why Next Gen Makers are proud to be launching our Engineering Careers Prospectus 2020. We are inviting businesses to get involved and profile themselves through the Prospectus.

If you are an employer keen to achieve this, please get in touch to discuss further: adam@nextgenmakers.co.uk

Adam Tipper
Director, Next Gen Makers