Looking ahead to another year of STEM outreach


Looking ahead to another year of STEM outreach

By Dan Phelps, Head of STEM Engagement

2017 was yet another excellent year for PBA’s STEM engagement. Collectively, we attended 48 events, engaging with around 6,000 school students and potential future engineers. This has been achieved through the hard work and dedication of all our STEM Ambassadors, the number of which has risen significantly.

To increase the volume of events we attend nationally, all new Graduates and Apprentices are now required to plan, attend and review STEM activities as part of their development programme. This reliable supply of resource allows us to commit to a greater number of schemes and events, while simultaneously developing the individuals soft-skills through presentations, public-speaking and team work.

To aid the new recruits in understanding what we do and why we do it, a full day induction event was held at our Reading Office in early November. The day included the administrative aspects on how to register as an Ambassador and how to find/attend events, with the day culminating with the preliminary development of two ‘out-of-the-box’ activities which can then be delivered to schools around the country. These activities are currently in the prototype phase with the target of being rolled out in September 2018 – just in time for the 2018 Graduates to begin to devise a new activity for a 2019 release.

The data gathered throughout 2017 by EngineeringUK has demonstrated that STEM engagement delivered by us and the wider industry is having the desired positive effects on the future workforce:  

  • 5% growth in Higher Education applications for Engineering subjects compared to a 3% overall growth for all HE applications
  • 108,000 apprentices entered the workforce, the highest figure for over a decade
  • 7% rise in the number of engineering enterprises
  • 51% of 11-16 year olds would now consider a career in engineering, up from 40% in 2012

Four PBA employees now sit on the ICE’s Thames Valley Graduate Student Apprentice committee - Dan Phelps, Doug Whittaker, Matt Chandler and Will Clarke. Through collaborative efforts we will deliver STEM events, among other types of public engagement, in affiliation with the ICE throughout 2018 to promote two major programmes: to celebrate the Institute of Civil Engineer’s 200th birthday through the ICE200 scheme and also to promote the Government’s Year of Engineering 2018 national campaign.

We have many events already booked in the diary from early 2018 until the end of the academic year in July. If you would like more information, or are holding an STEM event and would like us to attend, contact Dan Phelps.