Weir and Primary Engineer partner to plug engineering skills gap

Primary Engineer, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to promoting engineering skills and careers, has partnered with the Glasgow-based Weir Group, one of the world’s leading engineering businesses, to support the Scottish Engineering Leaders Awards.

The awards recognise the best young engineering talent in Scotland and are supported by hundreds of schools across the country.  First established in 2013, they aim to raise the profile of engineering as a career to Scots of all backgrounds.  Currently, 91% of engineers in the UK are male and only 6% come from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Jon Stanton, CEO of the Weir Group said:

“We are delighted to support the Scottish Engineering Leaders Awards.  Scotland is a country with a great heritage of innovative engineering but we need to ensure we inspire the next generation and give every child the opportunity to pursue engineering as a career.  That way we can continue to produce exceptional engineers who can shape the world around them.” 

Engineering is one of the most productive sectors in the UK, but a shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates every year is damaging growth, according to UK government statistics.  To help reverse this trend 2018 has been designated the UK’s Year of Engineering.

Weir Group are among a growing number of industry partners who support Primary Engineer’s vision that targeted interventions need to happen sooner rather than later to encourage young people from all backgrounds to consider careers in engineering.

Dr Susan Scurlock, Chief Executive and Founder of Primary Engineer, expressed her delight at the partnership. “It’s wonderful news that Weir Group are supporting the Scottish Engineering Leaders Awards. The competition shows us the huge potential in young people to identify and solve problems in the world and that means accessing talent from all backgrounds.”

As part of the Awards, pupils interview an engineer and then, inspired by them, use engineering to solve a problem. They illustrate their invention and all entries are marked by engineers or those working in the industry. Students at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde then select a winning entry to be turned into a prototype each year.

Previous winning entries to the competition include the ‘Trolley for the Elderly’, which lifts and lowers at the flip of a switch, and was designed as part of the Scottish Engineering Leaders Award by Aidan McCann, a then P7 pupil at Cromarty Primary in Inverness.

His inspiration for the design came from his 75-year-old, 4’11” granny, who struggled with conventional carts because of her age and height.  Aiden, who won top prize at the Scottish Engineering Leaders Award with the idea, saw his plans brought to life by Masters students at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.  The Trolley is now on display at the Glasgow Science Centre to inspire pupils to find innovating engineering solutions to problems.

Registration for this year’s competition is now open and the last date for entries is 29th March. Schools can sign up via www.leadersaward.com.

The winner of the 2018 awards will be announced in a special ceremony at the Barony Hall in Glasgow on the 7th June with exhibitions open to the public on the 8th and 9th June.

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