The Royal Academy of Engineering has an ambition. It wants to turn engineering from one of the most poorly understood, into one of the best understood and in-demand careers.
That’s why it’s launching the first ever “This is Engineering Day” on 6th November 2019 as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week – to celebrate the diversity of engineering roles and to give more young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to take up engineering careers.
You might ask why this matters. As Hayaatun Sillem, Chief Executive of the RAEng, puts it, ‘Engineering and technology play an incredible role in shaping the world around us and in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges, from providing sustainable supplies of food, water and clean energy, to advancing healthcare, and keeping us safe and secure. We know that young people increasingly want to tackle these issues and make a difference in the world, but unfortunately lack of understanding around engineering is stopping them from exploring careers that will enable them to do this.”
Taking a role in shaping our climate future
In this context it’s a good opportunity to highlight the role of building controls engineers in tackling one of the biggest challenges our world faces: climate change.
Buildings have a huge carbon footprint: in Europe, they account for just under 40% of the continent’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Since much infrastructure is already built, and a large portion of it will last for decades to come, the work that our industry does in improving the efficiency of existing building stock is crucial.
Over the past two decades BGES has made thousands of sites more efficient, comfortable and easier to operate through our advanced technology solutions. We also want to be the first company in the country to tackle the ‘performance gap’ – i.e. the difference between how a building is designed and how it performs in terms of energy efficiency. We’re looking at specific building data streams and analysing these, and will share our results with industry. This is a key challenge if the UK is going to meet its target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Addressing the skills gap
According to stats from the RAEng, we face an estimated shortfall of up to 59,000 engineers each year in the UK, so raising the profile of the profession could not be more important.
To address this, we’ve committed ourselves to supporting home grown engineering talent – in fact, our apprentices represent 10% of our workforce. As well as the formal, nationally recognised qualification route, we also have our own in-house apprenticeship scheme. This proactive approach sees that apprentices are not restricted to learning one subject. In-depth training is given across five areas of expertise, so that skills are gained across the whole spectrum.
We are also challenging the gender gap – only 12% of professional engineers are women, according to the RAEng. We are proud to say that a third of our London workforce is female, and we are working to encourage more women into the industry.
If you’d like to learn more about our apprenticeship schemes, or what we’re doing to decarbonise the UK’s building stock for future generations, get in touch. Or read about how we are helping our clients to drive down energy use.