“I came out of the programme feeling more confident in my abilities and less frightened about the prospect of future employment.
“Thank you to everyone who worked so hard so that people like me was able to experience this opportunity.”
“Well where do I start. I know that many of you are very busy so thank you for taking the time out to encourage the next generation to inspire us to be part of your industry's future.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is a professional body with more than 100,000 members. The organisation is at the heart of innovation within its industry, enabling members to meet, exchange ideas and develop skills throughout their careers. The Institution also looks to inspire the next generation of engineers and those considering roles in the industry.
IMechE came to Springpod with something of a blank canvas, which presented the opportunity to work collaboratively and build something exciting.
The overarching goal was to promote engineering to a wide audience, including those who may not be seen as the traditional audience for these roles. In the UK, only 24% of those in STEM roles are female for instance, so any programme should look to redress pre-existing bias.
This was not to be a vanity project for the Institution, their goal instead was to demonstrate the importance of engineering and that it can be open to all, via a wide variety of entry routes.
An additional goal was to showcase the value of mechanical engineering - how it impacts everyone’s life.
Often our task is to adapt existing in-person work experience programmes to make them suitable for a virtual delivery. Here, we had an opportunity to work with the Institution and engineer something from the ground up.
An initial module was created that would focus on the big questions - what is mechanical engineering, what are some of the roles? Why would someone want to consider it?
Students would have a good chance to grill some experts.
A suite of modules then looked at fascinating individual case studies, with interactive tasks and insights from specialists, designed to engage students.
Next, the programme examined how mechanical engineering is adapting to become more sustainable, through the choice of materials and recycling.
Did you know that mechanical engineering is helping to combat infectious disease? We didn't either, and found this section fascinating, as we were sure students would too.
A further module showcased developments in transport, encouraging participants to think about changes in an ever-more connected world, through the lens of environmentally friendly solutions.
Throughout, students learnt through doing - in quizzes and tasks, but also through the ability to speak to and question experts in live sessions (repeated on-demand).
A final module developed career skills. Not all the students will become engineers, but here was a module that would be of true benefit to all.
More than a third of the cohort, aged from 14 to 19, were female, much higher than the industry average. Minority Ethnic students accounted for three out of every five and almost one in five were eligible for free school meals.
Male/female/prefer not to say: 62%/35%/3%
Ethnicity: Minority Ethnic 61%, white 38%, prefer not to say 1%
Before taking part only 3% said they had excellent awareness of careers in the industry, this rose to 54% by completion.
Almost three times as many were now ‘very confident’ about finding work (in any profession), and those ‘very likely’ to consider mechanical engineering had doubled (from 31% to 60%).
Of almost 1,000 participating, more than half finished the entire programme, a stunning result.
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