As many of us know, aerospace engineering is a highly skilled and in-demand career path. Like other industries, it relies on younger generations stepping up to fill roles as they become available.
While many young people might know what an engineer is, it is fair to assume that few can distinguish between different types of engineer. To get them on board, it is vital that we inspire them to see the value in an aerospace engineering career. But how do we do this?
The answer to this question is obvious: by energising learning, particularly about aerospace engineering, we can make children enthusiastic about joining the sector. This is vital for sustainable growth in the industry, particularly in light of the numerous opportunities coming from government engineering contracts.
As with other specialist careers, it benefits children to have a firm idea in the early stages of their education. Doing so allows them to make the right choices, set their sites on a goal, and follow the right path to achieve it.
But where do you start? While it is never too early to begin inspiring children, we believe around the ages of 11 and 12 is most appropriate. Few children have an idea of their career at this point, but it is early enough in their school life that they can make the right choices for GCSEs and begin honing their skills.
After all, building experience in engineering is about much more than school-based education. Plenty of hobbies build the right skills, and encouraging children to start early gives them plenty of chances.
There are myriad ways to inspire children into choosing the right career paths for their interests. Everything from school focus groups to internships help them understand their options and get a feel for various industries.
Furthermore, site visits show children the “cool” side of aerospace engineering, as many appreciate a hands-on approach to industries that involve construction. An Australian initiative has taken this idea to the next level. Flight Youth Engineering guides students through aircraft construction, teaching them about materials, processes, and the exact nature of the business.
After all, decisions of this nature require information. Showing young people how the industry works helps them understand whether it is the right fit. While many will have an idea of engineering in general, it is likely that they have not been to an aerospace site and seen how an aircraft is built.
Getting younger generations involved with aerospace engineering should not be challenging. After all, it is a very rewarding and interesting industry. But, there are not many opportunities to do this before university, as engineering is often lumped into a single subject.
So, how do we get younger generations involved in aerospace engineering? Is it better to show them a single area of engineering or keep their options broad but with sufficient information? We would love to hear your feedback on the topic and to find out what inspired you to work in aerospace engineering.