Led by the Royal Academy of Engineering in collaboration with EngineeringUK, This is Engineering Day aims to show young people what engineering really looks like – and why it can be a rewarding career path.
We’re proud to be involved as industry, educators and government work hand-in-hand to ensure we’re challenging stereotypes and providing real-life examples of engineering in action.
This year’s theme is #BeTheDifference: a celebration of the engineering that shapes our world for the better, whether that’s by making our day-to-day lives easier or by tackling some of our biggest global challenges.
The UK currently faces a major shortfall in engineering skills. Research has shown that the UK needs 21,000 more computer science graduates on average, every year, to meet the demands of the digital economy. In addition, EngineeringUK reports that only 12 percent of the UK engineering workforce are female and elements of the gender gap have been further widened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Amazon, we know that careers in engineering and technology are incredibly varied and rewarding. We appreciate how these roles are vital to addressing some of the greatest challenges of our time, and we want to play our part by overhauling perceptions of what engineering looks like and attracting future engineers into the profession.
Lauren Kisser is Director at Amazon’s Development Centre in Cambridge, where she is responsible for ensuring that Alexa can answer any question ever asked in any language – globally.
In support of This Is Engineering Day, Lauren said: “I’ve been lucky to have worked in technology for my entire career, and have innovated on some fascinating engineering programs. That’s why I’m a passionate advocate for engineering and STEM skills, especially among young women and girls: if we can help to engage more young people in these exciting, rewarding careers, we can help the next generation to shape their future. This Is Engineering Day is a brilliant way to push the conversation around engineering skills even further.”
Here’s a round-up of how you can get involved with This Is Engineering Day 2020:
1Test your knowledge with Alexa
Do you know which year Tim Berners-Lee published the first website address? Or who was the father of Victorian computer visionary, Ada Lovelace?
From today, Alexa users can test their engineering knowledge with a brand new quiz. To get started, simply utter “Alexa, open the Engineering quiz”, or say, “Alexa, quiz me on Engineering”.
Alexa users can also discover more about engineering with a few simple questions, such as:
‘Alexa, what does an engineer look like?’
‘Alexa, how can I find out about a career in engineering?’
‘Alexa, tell me about This Is Engineering Day’
‘Alexa, tell me some engineering facts.’
2Take a guided video tour of an Amazon Fulfilment Centre
Due to the safety and wellbeing of employees and the public, in-person tours of Amazon Fulfilment Centres are paused at the moment. However, you can still get a glimpse inside by taking a guided video tour!
From inventory planning to robotics, the engineering skills of Amazon employees underpin every stage of your Amazon order. If you’ve ever wondered how that product in your online shopping cart gets from Amazon to your door, find out more by watching the video.
3Sign up to Amazon Future Engineer
Amazon Future Engineer is a comprehensive childhood-to-career programme to inspire, educate and enable children and young adults from lower-income backgrounds to try computer science.
The programme includes learning opportunities for primary and secondary schools, teacher training and funding for secondary schools, plus bursaries and apprenticeships for post-18 education.
With many schools closed or restricted due to COVID-19, Amazon Future Engineer has launched a free virtual coding programme available for students, teachers and parents to help build computer science skills for students learning at home.
4Dive deep with our curated books list
In support of This Is Engineering Day, experts at the Royal Academy of Engineering have curated a list of engineering-themed books to raise awareness of the breadth of engineering careers available to young people.
Whether you’re looking for guidance on your own career, supporting a young person as they plan their career path or just looking for inspiration – this list will help to spark that passion.
The list includes classic texts from Isaac Asimov and H.G. Wells, plus exciting new books from astronaut Tim Peake and science writer Matt Ridley.
5What’s new for This is Engineering Day 2020
This year, the Royal Academy of Engineering will be hosting five online Q&A sessions on a selection of engaging topics relevant to young people, who will have the opportunity to ask questions in the live chat function.
The first session will take place at 09:15am on Wednesday 4th November – register online today. In addition, This is Engineering Day has announced plans the world’s newest virtual museum: The Museum of Engineering Innovation.
6Show your support on social media
Celebrate engineers and how they make a difference to our work and in the world using #BeTheDifference and tagging @ThisisEng.
Last year, the Academy launched a public image library to counter negatively stereotyped imagery. The image library is free and provides diverse imagery to be used online and in publications to show the multiple sides and faces to engineering.