Published: 10 February 2015

Surrey brings engineering into the classroom

As part of its ‘Why Engineering?’ campaign, the University has launched a range of curriculum resources that will open pupils’ eyes to the fundamental role engineering plays in our daily lives.

Aimed at 11 to 14 year olds, the new materials are the first resources the University has released as part of its strategy to support learning in schools in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and raise awareness of engineering as a rewarding career path.

The curriculum resources consist of an assembly presentation entitled ‘Introduction to Engineering’, and a complete lesson plan on ‘The Role of Engineers in a Flooding Scenario’. The assembly uses video, images and insights to prompt pupils to consider how our world is shaped by engineering, while the lesson plan challenges students to design a product that could help people or communities in the event of a severe flood disaster. The resources fit within the National Curriculum Key Stage 3/4 Design and Technology module.

The curriculum resources represent the latest phase of Surrey’s ‘Why Engineering?’ campaign, which was launched in response to the forecast shortage of qualified engineers identified by the UK government.  It is predicted that by 2020, the UK will need to employ around 1.86 million engineers, of whom 870,000 will be graduates.

However there is a lack of knowledge about the engineering sector among teachers, parents and school students, with common misconceptions persisting – such as the idea that engineering is restricted to ‘men in hard hats’.

Centring on a dedicated website providing video and downloadable content for students, parents and schools, ‘Why Engineering?’ communicates the relevance of engineering in the modern world and highlights the outstanding job prospects offered by the engineering sector. Qualified to work anywhere in the world, 85 per cent of UK engineering graduates are employed within six months of graduating, while their average starting salary of £26,0000 is 22 per cent higher than the average for all graduates.

Jonathan Seville, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences commented, “We hope that these learning resources prompt pupils to consider what engineering is and why it plays such a fundamental role in people’s lives. By reaching young people interested in the STEM subjects, we hope that we can spark interest at a time when they are considering their A level subject choices and possible university courses.

“With all four of our engineering departments ranked in the UK top ten according to The Times Good University Guide, the University of Surrey is keen to nurture the next generation of engineers, which begins by supporting STEM learning in schools.”


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