Tomorrow's Engineers week

Posted on 29 October 2019

Thousands of potential engineers are set to be wowed as a national engineering campaign is launched this week.

Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2019 (4- 8 November), led by EngineeringUK, takes place annually and shines a spotlight on engineers and engineering careers. It aims to change perceptions among young people, their parents and teachers, and to inspire future engineers.

Now in its seventh year, Tomorrow’s Engineers Week is tackling the shortfall of 59,000 professional engineers annually in the UK. Only 12% of these are female and 9% are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. The campaign focusses on how engineers working in all sectors are on a mission to make the world a better place.

The celebration will feature the incredible things engineers work on and the range of jobs available in the industry.

Former student Robert Jowitt is now a Project Manager working on the Toddbrook Reservoir

Robert studied HNC and HND in Civil Engineering at the College between 2014 to 2017 while being a Technician Engineer at the Canal & River Trust. Once gaining these qualifications this opened up the opportunity to become a Project Manager with the Trust.

Since becoming a Project Manager, Robert has worked on a variety of projects including the £4m programme of works to improve the flight of 16 locks at Marple, one of the steepest flights in Britain, and a £1m towpath project on the Rochdale Canal. Now, Robert is project managing the repair of Toddbrook Reservoir which hit the national headlines over the summer.

After a period of very heavy rainfall, the spillway at Toddbrook Reservoir became damaged and was at risk of collapse. A multi-agency around-the-clock effort saw over a billion litres of water pumped from the reservoir. An RAF Chinook helicopter dropped over 500 one-tonne bags of aggregate to reinforce the structure with grout poured to bind the bags and further strengthen the dam.

Robert is leading a team of experts alongside contractor Kier to maintain and manage water levels and deliver the repair works to the dam and keep the reservoir secure. Robert said:

“The last 12 weeks have been hectic, managing a project of this style and profile and working alongside the emergency services, Army, RAF and our own contractor. However, it’s incredibly exciting and a career-defining experience for me.

“I would love to potentially inspire students about a career in Engineering or Project Management. I got interested in it through a tutor at Leeds College of Building who sparked my interest due to the passion she had for the subject. I had never even thought about heading down the project management career path until then.”

Vicky Patterson, Curriculum Manager for Technical and Professional Apprenticeships at Leeds College of Building, said:

“Leeds College of Building and other organisations across the UK are joining forces to publicly celebrate the engineers shaping the world around us and challenge the narrow stereotype of the engineer. It’s an absolute joy to hear how well our Building Services Engineering and Civil Engineering students are doing in the industry, successfully pursuing varied and innovative disciplines.”

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO, Royal Academy of Engineering, commented:

“Engineering and technology play an incredible role in shaping the world around us and in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges, from providing a sustainable supply 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 the lack of understanding around engineering is stopping them from exploring careers that will enable them to do this […]. That’s why we’re making 6 November ‘This is Engineering Day,’ to raise awareness of what engineers really do and celebrate those that are shaping the world we live in.”