It’s widely accepted that the UK alone will need a million new engineers by 2020, and on historic trends that’s a real concern.
The future always belongs to the young. Their energy and skills are among the most important resources we have. We are working to help young people realise this potential, to help us make a better future together.
We are active in many areas of formal education, nurturing the technical and engineering skills we’ll need to address future energy challenges.
Low female participation is still a big problem. That’s why we’re making big efforts to encourage more young women to follow science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, and be inspired by the opportunities offered through a future in engineering, at every level.
Create the future
Create the future is part of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, a UK-based initiative which celebrates engineering design projects that have brought a global benefit to humanity. Create the future picks up on these achievements to inspire young people (and particularly young women) to take up engineering careers. We are a founding donor, and National Grid people including CEO Steve Holliday have taken high profile roles to explain how much needs to be done, and can be done.
As a wide-ranging programme in the US and Canada which encourages young women to be “strong, smart and bold” Girls Inc. has a natural interest in urging participation in science and engineering at school. We work with Girls Inc. to fund STEM programmes in Lynn and Worcester, MA and in Schenectady and Albany NY for girls ages 12-18.
For many young people science has an image problem, dry or perhaps academic. It doesn’t have to look that way which is why in the US we’re sponsoring six high school teams in New York and Massachusetts to build basketball-playing robots. Part of the FIRST Robotics competition, the students work together (and compete against the other teams) to design, build and program 5ft/120 lb robots that can dribble and shoot. Mixing sport, engineering and just a touch of science fiction it’s a brilliant way to open eyes to the excitement and value of science and engineering careers.
Meanwhile in the UK we sponsor the VEX Robotics programme. It’s a national initiative which works as a gateway to an international competition, encouraging teenage students to solve engineering problems using sensors, motors, 3D modelling software and remote control gadgetry. Robotics is not yet part of the UK school curriculum, so the clubs happen after school, and even on this purely voluntary basis have found an enthusiastic take-up. To find out if your school is eligable to recieve a grant for VEX Robotics equipment.