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More than half of parents struggle to help kids engineer their futures

  • Research from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) shows more than half (54 per cent) of parents feel they would struggle to guide their children to gain more experience in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fields
  • Incentivised by a growing need for people with engineering skills Engineering Open House Day is organised by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and sees more than 27 companies and organisations open their doors to showcase careers in engineering and technology
  • 60 events across the UK will welcome young people and parents on Friday 26 July 2019 as part of Engineering Open House Day

In good news for the future of engineering, new research shows nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of parents say their children have expressed an interest in engineering as a future career.

However, the research from the Institution of Engineering and Technology shows almost a third (31 per cent) of mums and dads feel they would struggle to describe what an engineer actually does – this is despite 95% of parents saying they know what an engineer is.

The survey, of over 2,000 parents of school-aged children, found that in contrast to engineering, parents felt very comfortable with describing what a doctor (94 per cent), teacher (94 per cent) and even a Reality TV Star (81 per cent) does as a profession.

However, a large number of parents (69 per cent) felt that experiencing what happens behind the scenes of an organisation would help them encourage their children to take up a role in an engineering or technology profession.

To help parents better guide their children, the IET is inviting children and parents to visit a number of businesses on Friday 26 July as part of Engineering Open House Day 2019.

Held in partnership with a variety of companies to demonstrate the plethora of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers available. 60 events are taking place across the UK aiming to offer further insight into parents and children regarding how to progress into a career in engineering and technology. 

Partner organisations this year include The National Theatre, Amazon, Tower Bridge, TFL, Ofcom and Royal Mail, to name a few.

It is well documented that the UK faces a nationwide skills shortage. 203,000 people with engineering skills will be required each year to meet demand through to 2024, but it’s estimated that there will be an annual shortfall of 59,000 engineering and technicians to fill these roles[1].

By highlighting the important role that engineers play in everyday life, and the creativity and diversity of work in this sector, Engineering Open House Day connects directly with children to inspire and motivate them towards exploring careers in engineering and technology. It also equips and encourages parents to support their kids in nurturing their curiosity.

Through its Engineering Open House Day, the IET seeks to inspire a new generation of engineering and technology enthusiasts. The day forms part of a wider campaign, Engineer a Better World, which aims to support parents and young people in finding out more about modern engineering.

We are delighted to now be in the fifth year of Engineering Open House Day. Our research shows that engineering is an increasingly popular career aspiration for children, with a quarter (25 per cent) of children saying they would be interested, a 3 per cent rise since 2017. That said, this research demonstrates that there is still a long way to go in terms of parents feeling confident enough to guide their youngsters in the right direction,” said David Lakin, IET Head of Education.

“Engineering Open House Day provides an excellent springboard for children and parents alike to get to grips with the sheer scope of exciting careers encompassed in the field of engineering, and how to get there, first hand from some of the most innovative brands in the UK.”

For more information and to view the full list of events taking place on the 26 July 2019, please visit

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Notes to Editors

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About the IET

  • We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community to engineer a better world.
  • We are a diverse home for engineering and technology intelligence throughout the world. This breadth and depth mean we are uniquely placed to help the sector progress society.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and technology to change outdated perceptions and tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.
  • Interview opportunities are available with our spokespeople from a range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and diversity in engineering.
  • For more information, visit
  • Follow the IET on Twitter.


Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager
T:  +44 (0)1438 767336
M: +44 (0)7738 602426

Rebecca Gillick
Senior Communications Executive
T:  +44 (0)1438 765 618
M: +44 (0)7725 498 129


[1] Report for EngineeringUK: Engineering UK 2018 report