Next Engineers is celebrating completing its first year, reaching over 2,000 Staffordshire-based students through three aged specific programmes - Engineering Discovery, Engineering Experience, and Engineering Academy.
GE Foundation’s Next Engineers Staffordshire launched in October 2021, with the aim of increasing the diversity of young people entering engineering. Staffordshire is one of four global locations, and students across the county have benefited from 2,200 volunteer hours from GE’s employees.
The programme delivered by Connectr is designed to inspire students aged between 13 to 18 years old. In its first year,
- More than 2,000 students from 11 Staffordshire schools completed Engineering Discovery sessions (aimed at Year 9 students), with ~50 percent of students identifying as female.
- Over 200 people applied for Engineering Experience (aimed at Year 10 students), from 27 different Staffordshire schools. ~15 percent of these students were from a diverse ethnic background.
- ~30 percent of Engineering Academy applicants (aimed at Year 11-13 students) identified as female, with 24 percent being from diverse ethnic groups.
- 99% of Engineering Academy students were retained throughout the first year, and 82% of the students are currently considering an Engineering degree or Engineering apprenticeship.
Commenting on the success of the programme, Jennifer Edwards, Global Program Director, GE Foundation, states: “It's one thing to reach thousands of young people through a new programme, but the fact so many have not only stuck with it but have been inspired enough to think 'yes engineering could be a career for me' is phenomenal. It proves that if you give young people a real, practical taste of engineering and show them the possibilities as a career - you can ignite a whole generation into a critical profession”.
The industry, like many STEM sectors, has historically struggled to spark interest among young people, especially those from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. Next Engineers is looking to address this talent shortage and protect the sector for the future.
Alan White, Leader of Staffordshire County Council, is pleased with the fantastic work so far and highlights: “Next Engineers provides Staffordshire students with vital engineering experiences and opportunities that they may not have had exposure to without the support of this programme. It has been designed to give young people the chance to look at engineering as a viable career choice and is aimed to increase the diversity of those going into this field.
“The investment that GE Stafford is making to ensure we have engineers for the future of our world is outstanding. I encourage all schools to get involved because Next Engineers supports the development of our students' soft skills too, and this is an important part of their career readiness journeys.”
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About Next Engineers
Next Engineers involves three programmes to engage students and attract them into engineering:
- Engineering Discovery for students aged 13-14 (Year 9) – designed to increase awareness of engineering as a viable career through multiple, short, one-hour exploratory sessions and hands-on activities – both in the classroom and in the community - connecting students to real engineers.
- Engineering Experience for students aged 14-15 (Year 10) – a week-long immersive work experience. Students will interact with experienced engineering faculty and staff, complete design challenges solving real-world problems, and interact directly with professional engineers and business leaders.
- Engineering Academy for students aged 15-18 (Years 11-13) – devised to guide and encourage students to pursue an engineering career path. Engineering Academy is a three-year programme for secondary school students helping them learn, think and act like engineers. This will provide 80 hours per year of out-of-school coaching, including longer challenges, a final year project, career coaching to expose students to different engineering pathways, and further education-readiness workshops. Students accepted onto engineering apprenticeships or engineering degrees will also receive financial support from the GE Foundation.
About the GE Foundation
The GE Foundation, an independent charitable organisation funded by GE, is committed to transforming our communities and shaping the diverse workforce of tomorrow by leveraging the power of GE. Through Next Engineers, we are increasing the diversity of young people in engineering. Learn more at www.gefoundation.com or follow us on Twitter at @GE_Foundation.
Formerly MyKindaFuture, Connectr's products and services build businesses where people belong. We believe in giving every person equal power and opportunity to shape their future. Our technology and off-platform services turn D&I strategy into reality by enabling our partners to inspire, engage, hire, and retain people of all backgrounds. Our services including delivering outreach and inspiration programmes that create deep and lasting relationships with all talent to launch and support their future career… Learn more at www.connectr.com.
About FHI 360
FHI 360 is a nonprofit, international, human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. FHI 360 serves in more than 60 countries and all U.S. states and territories. Using a 360-degree approach, its team of more than 4,000 professionals helps create jobs, educate children, provide lifesaving health care and bring about positive social change. To ensure the fidelity of the model and success of the Next Engineers program, FHI 360 provides global program management and technical assistance to GE Volunteers and local implementing organizations.
About General Electric (GE)
GE rises to the challenge of building a world that works. For more than 125 years, GE has invented the future of industry, and today the company’s dedicated team, leading technology, and global reach and capabilities help the world work more efficiently, reliably, and safely. GE’s people are diverse and dedicated, operating with the highest level of integrity and focus to fulfil GE’s mission and deliver for its customers. Learn more at www.ge.com.
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