Young people are being discouraged from engineering because they think the industry is dull and stifled by rules, an engineering institution says.
The Institution of Structural Engineers said it wants to inspire more people to get into structural engineering, to address declining interest in studying engineering. It said recent estimates suggested at least an additional 10,000 engineers were required every year to keep up with demand in the UK alone.
Chris Wise of Expedition Engineering, who worked to create the London 2012 Velodrome and is a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers, said that young engineers were being discouraged by the idea that the industry was all about regulations and compliance, instead of being driven by design and enjoyment.
"Young people may be put off engineering because they can’t see any role models,” he said. They need to be inspired, not lectured at. It would be great to change the mindset away from rules and formulae towards infinite possibility, amazing performance and life-enhancing achievement, he said.
Wise continued: “At the moment, instead of asking young people to visualise engineering as the chance to design something fantastic and futuristic, a spaceship or a self-sustaining city, they are dragged into a world of lumpy objects whose time has passed."
As part of the institution’s campaign to inspire creativity in potential engineers, it recently ran a photographic competition, complete with a blog, for its members to highlight the achievements of structural engineers around the world, including the UK.
The Institution of Structural Engineers president Professor John Nolan said: "Engineers are the creators of tomorrow's world. Events such as the Olympics, which take place on the world stage and entail the showcasing of purpose built structures, inspire a much needed new generation of engineers.
“London’s recent Olympic success also demonstrates the importance of engineering when it comes to global perceptions of power, competence and ability.”
Find out more about the photography competition run by the institution.