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Why don’t engineering institutions link up with The Guides?

An alliance of 38 UK professional engineering organisations has called on the next government to harness the full capacity, capability and potential of the UK’s engineering talent. Ahead of the General Election, the group identified five key priorities which it believes the next government must address.

Amongst these is the seemingly perennial call for ‘something to be done’ about skills.

Rightly, the manifesto notes that ‘talent and skills are fundamental to the UK’. But the manifesto focuses on vocational education and training; that addresses those who have decided that engineering is the career for them.

However, there is a widespread belief that work needs to be done amongst much younger students in order to seed their interest. Some organisations are, indeed, doing this.

But one sector of society is particularly under represented sector when it comes to engineering – women only represent 9% of the engineering workforce.

The Girl Guides and Brownies are looking to shake up what they award badges for. Believe it or not, girls could win a badge for being an air mechanic in 1910. In the 1930s, an electrician badge was available. Are similar badges available today?

Perhaps the 38 Institutions associated with the engineering manifesto should consider putting some of their effort into working with the Guides organisation to seed interest amongst young girls in engineering and science?

Graham Pitcher

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