With the majority of young people feeling that the coronavirus pandemic will adversely affect the educational routes and job opportunities available to them, EngineeringUK has launched Neon (www.neonfutures.org.uk) – a digital platform that gives teachers easy access to quality-assured online and offline engineering outreach activities, which the IET is supporting.
For the first time, Neon brings together the UK’s engineering experiences and career resources in one place, bringing STEM careers to life. With the support of the engineering community, Neon empowers teachers with the tools they need to engage young people in a career in the engineering sector, which makes up nearly 20% of the workforce.
Further research from EngineeringUK shows that young people who have taken part in a STEM careers activity are three times more likely to consider a career in engineering. However, only 13% of young people took part in any formal STEM-related careers activity during lockdown.
Hilary Leevers, CEO of EngineeringUK explained: “It is a critical time to provide high-quality careers information that empowers young people, regardless of their background, to make informed decisions about their education and careers. Teachers are key to this and must be supported to deliver impactful experiences even in these challenging circumstances. Neon offers a way for teachers to easily engage with a range of inclusive and diverse engineering experiences, safe in the knowledge that each activity is quality assured, helping young people to form vital links between school learning and real careers.”
With a focus on accessibility and inclusivity, Neon offers teachers a trusted resource to help research and plan engineering experiences and outreach activities, aligned to the Gatsby Benchmarks of good career guidance.
Since lockdown, providers of engineering experiences and outreach activities have had to rapidly rethink their offerings, so they are Covid-secure. Neon offers a growing list of in-class, online and external experiences which are easily searchable, all quality assured and Covid-secure. Everything from tackling real-world engineering problems in class, to live online sessions to create a future city, to creating virtual racing cars are listed and there is also a range of careers resources.
David Lakin, IET Head of Education, added: “With the extraordinary situation we currently find ourselves in, it’s vital that young people are able to receive the education and career support they need to make informed decisions about their future careers. With so many great STEM initiatives to choose from, it can be difficult for teachers to navigate the wealth of offerings, which is why Neon has been created to consolidate STEM providers from across the UK into one go-to digital platform. By providing easy access to STEM initiatives, Neon will be able to help support STEM education, experiences and career information in schools and inspire more young people to consider engineering as a career choice to engineer a better world for us all.”
To find out more information, please visit www.neonfutures.org.uk.