Press release

Prime Minister sees IET engineering education programme in action

16 February 2017

Nigel Fine, IET Chief Executive, said: “Much of the media reporting over the Prime Minister’s visit to a Copeland school yesterday focussed on Theresa May’s facial expressions. However, the visit highlighted a very serious subject for the UK economy.

“While at the school, the Prime Minister joined a FIRST® LEGO® League lesson where students were demonstrating robots they had built.  The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) organises the FIRST® LEGO® League competition in the UK and Ireland to help inspire the next generation of engineers.

“The reason for the competition is simple. There are not enough young people, particularly girls, taking up the important engineering gateway subjects such as maths, physics and design & technology – and then taking their studies further whether through an apprenticeship, or higher education. Although there are many efforts made to highlight engineering as an exciting, creative and vibrant industry, we need to do more to get these messages heard by young people.

“We are also at risk of stifling economic growth if we do not produce the future engineers we so critically need. We will only fix the skills shortage when more young people are enlightened to the exciting, creative and rewarding world of engineering.  Initiatives like FIRST® LEGO® League are doing just that, with over 250,000 young people globally taking part each year.

“This is not the first time parliamentarians have engaged with our competition – Nicky Morgan, the former Education Secretary attended the competition final on several occasions, David Cameron, former Prime Minister met previous winners at Downing Street, and members of the Royal Family have also met previous winners.

“We’d be delighted to welcome back the Prime Minister to see more of these activities and promote the importance of engineering for the UK economy.”

Notes to editors:

The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 167,000 members in 150 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.