The Institute of Engineering and Technology has called for increasing investment in the Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills gap, estimating that it costs the UK economy £1.5bn annually. Half of engineering businesses have indicated they are experiencing difficulties recruiting people with the right skills.
What will the future hold, and where will the next generation of engineers and construction professionals come from? That’s not an easy question to answer, with the solution requiring action from government, schools, colleges, universities and the industry.
We’re committed to playing our part, that’s why Octavius is committed to promoting STEM careers with young people as part of our social value commitment, one of our four key pillars to delivering a sustainable legacy, creating exceptional value, helping individuals to learn, grow and thrive, and assured and safe delivery and delivering great value for our customers.
We recognise that if everyone in the industry plays a full part to inspire young people to pursue STEM subjects and helping them get established in the early stages of their career we can address this National challenge.
STEM subjects can be seen as being difficult, so understanding the opportunities on offer and what it means to be an engineer or technologist in the modern construction sector can really help young people make informed decisions about their future.
Octavius is fully committed to the STEM Ambassador Programme. During the Romsey Bridge project some of our STEM Ambassadors worked with nearby Mountbatten School, focusing on 12 students who were at risk of dropping STEM subjects despite having a real aptitude.
The team used the Mabey Hire STEM Education Programme and Lego educational materials to create fun and inspiring hands-on learning experiences.
The after-school sessions involved mathematical challenges and engineering activities exploring gears, balancing, levers and supports by making tower cranes, cars and bridges. All the activities applied learning and problem-solving skills to reach a goal.
The programme is highly effective, with over 95% of participants saying they would consider a STEM-related career.
“It was really fun and interesting. We also work in groups which helps our teamwork and friendship. We get to learn about things we never knew about before.” – (Student response).
Opportunities to Innovate
The project to replace the Romsey road bridge over the M27 is a good example of how STEM careers brings opportunities to the industry with innovation that solves important problems.
The solution involved constructing the 1000 tonne composite bridge alongside the motorway and moving it into position using self-propelled modular transporters. Adopting this approach minimised the closure period and traffic disruption and allowed the motorway to reopen 36 hours ahead of schedule.
Octavius is committed to inspiring the next generation of engineers because, quite simply, our future depends on them.
If you’d like to know more about Octavius Infrastructure’s commitment to delivering social value and supporting educational programmes, contact Mike Todd (firstname.lastname@example.org).