National campaign inspires engineers of the future

“The engineering industry provides the perfect platform for young, aspiring engineers to excel and progress," says Tom Coleman.

Thousands of potential engineers are set to be inspired during a national campaign currently underway this week. Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2020 (2-6 November), led by EngineeringUK, takes place annually and shines a spotlight on engineering careers. It aims to change perceptions among young people, their parents and teachers, and inspire future engineers. 

Now in its eighth year, the week-long campaign aims to show young people that engineering is a creative, problem solving, exciting career that improves the world around us.

Last year, the Royal Academy of Engineering estimated that the UK needed to find more than one million new engineers by 2020 to meet demands. According to Engineering UK, there is also a shortfall of 69,000 engineers and technicians entering engineering or STEM-related subjects.

This week’s celebration will feature the incredible things engineers work on and the range of jobs available in the industry. One example of the type of engineer highlighted is Tom Coleman, a former student at Leeds College of Building.

Tom studied a Higher-Level Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering, EngTech MICE, HND in Civil Engineering, and NVQ in Construction Management. Tom’s dedication earned him an array of accolades at College including CIHT awards, a Highways award, and a BTEC Outstanding Apprentice of the Year Award.

He then progressed to the University of Leeds where he recently completed an MSc in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and now works for A-one+ as a GIS Specialist Engineer. His projects gained recognition after being shortlisted for the ESRI and CIHT national awards ceremonies in London and winning a Constructing Excellence Yorkshire and Humber (CEYH) 2020 Award. 

Coleman said: “I believe the engineering industry provides the perfect platform for young, aspiring engineers to excel and progress. The industry has benefitted from increased awareness around apprenticeships and STEM recently, which has seen more companies invest in the future generation of engineers.

“My own company has seen the benefit that apprentices can provide to the business, and I wish more civil engineering apprenticeships were widely available when I was younger. Therefore, to the younger generation considering a future career in engineering, there has been no better time than now to pursue the opportunity.”

Catherine Smith, a lecturer in construction management at Leeds College of Building, said pursuing engineering was one of her best decisions. She said: “After graduating from the University of Sheffield, I was unsure about the industry in which I wanted to work. I started as a construction planner for Balfour Beatty on the gas network. After this, I progressed into project management working with Northern Powergrid as the client. I then progressed on to the Extra High Voltage electrical network, managing larger construction projects. This area is where I gained some electrical engineering qualifications, such as the more well-known SSMTS and safety passport. 

“Three years ago, I moved to Leeds College of Building. I really enjoy sharing my experiences with the students and helping shape the construction professionals of the future. When I was in industry, I never worked on the same project twice, which meant I was always upskilling myself. If you fancy working in a profession where challenge and innovation is the norm, engineering is for you!”

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