Wednesday, June 26, 2013

News: Tata Steel urge young people into engineering


Tata Steel is backing the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, which aims to attract young people to the engineering profession by recognising outstanding advances in engineering that have changed the world and benefited humanity.

The winners of the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering are pioneers of the internet and the World Wide Web. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Kahn, Vint Cerf, Louis Pouzin received their trophies from Her Majesty the Queen this week. The prize is intended to give engineering the same kind of recognition that are accorded by Nobel prizes.

Attending the event was CEO of Tata Steel in Europe, Karl Koehler, and a young engineer, James Gricapizzi, who was selected for the honour of attending the event from a shortlist of the company's young engineering talent.

Karl Koehler said: "The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a wonderful opportunity to open the eyes of young people to everything that a career in engineering offers. We need a fantastic initiative like this to remind us, not only in the UK, but throughout Europe, that it was engineering that made our continent prosperous and provided the differentiating factor that led to Europe's economic rise.

"The prize also emphasises that engineering is the key to retaining our economic competitiveness. The prize celebrates innovation and those who work on the engineering solutions to the great challenges and opportunities of modern society. Europe will always need engineers because companies like Tata Steel that focus on innovation must employ people with the right technical skills to ensure they succeed in their markets.

"This is important because large-scale industries like ours form the backbone of much of manufacturing activity. We employ about 4,000 engineers in the UK alone – about 20% of our workforce – and run one of the country's largest apprentice schemes, with about 500 apprentices on our books at any one time. We need people with the right STEM-subject qualifications. That's why we pioneered the Industrial Cadets scheme with Prince Charles, whereby schoolkids of about 13-14 years of age attend one of our sites for three hours a week for about 8-10 weeks in order to learn about manufacturing and steelmaking."

In 2012 the Tata Steel apprentice training scheme in South Yorkshire was highly commended in the National Apprenticeship Awards. A state-of-the-art engineering training centre at its Stocksbridge site was opened in 2012. Converted from a disused workshop, the centre enables the company to train in-house and equip the apprentices with the specialist skills essential to meet the current and future needs of this industry.

The prize ceremony came on the same day that a new study undertaken by the Royal Academy of Engineering was published. The Skills for the nation report shows that the demand for engineers across all sectors of the UK economy exceeds supply.

It shows that engineering remains a highly attractive career option for young people. But where teaching programmes in 46 of the UK's most established universities consistently are being filled to capacity, many of the UK's new universities - which include a number of former polytechnics - have undersubscribed engineering courses.

Tata Steel website

Images: Tata Steel


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