Thank you to Elliott Woods

13/06/18

 

Please enjoy the transcript of Gary's inspiring speech:

 

"When many people hear the word ‘Engineer’ they often think nuts and bolts, or a rather nerdy (usually male) character with grease covered hands or perhaps even someone who has turned up late to fix the washing machine.

I have been an engineer for over 30 years.  Engineering is a truly amazing profession: We design, we make, we imagine and we look in to the future to try to solve humanities problems.  It is challenging, dynamic, diverse, creative, innovative, and collaborative.  To round it off we also leave a real tangible legacy unlike many other professions.

Every single man (or woman)-made item is engineered in one way or another.  Everything you come across in your daily lives, from the cars you drive, to the buildings you inhabit, from the energy you use to the phone in your pocket, right through to the buckle on your belt are all designed by engineers.

And yet engineering is facing a huge skills shortage crisis.  Engineering UK suggests that the country needs 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025.  Only this morning, The Association of Consulting Engineers held a summit to discuss this.  They predict an annual shortfall of 59,000 engineers in the UK alone!

With only just over 50% of young people saying that they would even consider engineering as a career, we clearly have much to do to EDUCATE, INSPIRE and IMPACT the next generation!  Of course, the loss of key skills due to migrant exodus is only going to exacerbate the problem.

Children often form their ideas about their careers at very early ages.  By the time they reach secondary school, many have already been turned off by STEM.  Science, Technology, Economics and Maths.  Art has now been added to this list to create STEAM which is great news as it recognises the creativity, innovation and imagination that will be needed in the engineers of the future.

Facilities like this one here at UCL Here East are a great example of how we can engage and foster inquiring, dynamic and creative thinkers that our industry so desperately needs now and in the future.  I quote one of our members of staff that studied here 4 years ago “In addition to the strong academic engineering skills acquired here together with an emphasis on creative thinking, there is a drive to show how engineering can affect and benefit society”

This is the year of Engineering.  A celebration of what engineers do and more importantly should do in the future.  We should use this year to inspire the next generation of engineers.

The world faces huge challenges, greater than we have ever seen before.  Our immensely accelerated ‘progress’ over the last two hundred years or has caused many of the problems that we face today.  The pollution that we create in order to improve our lives is undoubtedly affecting our planet and we are having to build ever bigger defences to keep ourselves safe from the outcome.  A continuum that has to be broken.

Engineers are arguably best placed to understand these problems and use new technologies to try to solve them.  There is huge progress in re-usable energy and more sustainable consumption and a drive and ambition from many, if not all, in the world to deal with the ever-greater demands.  Engineers have the potential to make this happen!

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

Elliott Wood has supported Open House London for the last fourteen years, we believe it is a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile not just of London’s incredible skyline and architecture, but the engineering behind them to those that may not be immersed in our world.

On Sunday you will have the opportunity to join our team here at HERE EAST to explore some of the latest techniques with ‘digital fabrication’ and ‘parametric design’ (Those that need further explanation of these terms can get a full explanation on Sunday) by designing your very own flat pack cardboard pavilion.  You can also challenge us to see if you can create the tallest tower using paper straws.  We would love everyone that attends to have a go.  Have fun and hopefully learn more about what engineers do.  With a bit of luck we might inspire a few of our younger audience to at least give engineering a chance - so that they too can play their role in Engineering  a Better Society !"