Where is the Love in engineering

The UK is predicting a ‘skills gap’ of approximately half a million engineers by 2022, mainly due to retirements, according to Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, FREng, head of our Department of Engineering.

Professor Atkinson (pictured), alongside international superstar, coach on BBC’s The Voice and Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am, will be discussing the challenges caused by a gap in engineering skills during the Global Grand Challenges Summit in Beijing, China on 15-16 September.

Engineering graduates leave university as highly skilled and numerate individuals, making them attractive to a number of other professions including management and accountancy - however, this can leave a real gap in terms of the number of graduates entering the field of engineering.

During the summit, Professor Atkinson’s talk, ‘The beginnings of wisdom: Challenges in engineering education’, will explore how universities might enable students to gain wisdom alongside knowledge; Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma will be delivering the plenary session; and will.i.am will be tackling the challenge of ‘the joy of living’.

Professor Atkinson said: “will.i.am is known for being passionate in supporting the education of young people in STEM subjects. I am of course excited to be on the same bill as such a well-known figure.

“This summit is an important gathering of senior academics and industrialists from across the US, UK and China and I am very honoured to have been invited to speak there. I am really passionate about ensuring we provide education to young people which equips them with the knowledge and understanding, but also with wisdom.”

Professor Atkinson discusses the challenges caused by a gap in engineering skills in the podcast below: