This will have a significant impact on the employment market across Europe as there is a growing demand for Engineers and associated occupations. Society needs engineers who are adequately trained with the knowledge and skills to provide a secure, sustainable and successful Europe. Engineers will be critical to the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Why then, despite these diverse career options and good salary prospects, are there not more young people choosing engineering as a career?
Too many young people reject it because engineering degree studies are considered intellectually challenging and difficult to attain. This decreases the diversity of our student body as young people are wary of joining a degree course considered difficult for success. How therefore, do we increase the attractiveness of both the profession and the engineering educational experience to encourage young people to be enthused about an engineering career?
The main objective of the project A-STEP 2030 (Attracting diverSe Talent to the Engineering Professions of 2030) is to develop new and innovative teaching approaches relevant to learners’ values yet appropriate to teach a new set of skills and competencies needed for the future. Our goal is to create an attractive and fascinating learning environment thereby encouraging young people with diverse backgrounds to engage in engineering studies and the profession as a whole.
The aims of this project are developed within the framework of the following three activities:
- Determine future roles and skills requirements of engineers to enhance the sustainable development of society.
- Investigate the values and motivations of young people, students and adult learners to determine how this influences their future career choices and use this knowledge to make a career in engineering more attractive to all young people.
- Develop new and innovative teaching and learning practices to respond to these findings.
The project consortium has 7 members from six EU countries (France, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium) and 10 associated partners. It is based on the expertise and motivations of each partner organisation and includes four different European HEIs all involved in Engineering Education Research. They have worked together previously and are actively involved in the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) Attractiveness and Lifelong Learning Working Groups.
The team are complemented by representatives from SEFI and BEST (Board of European Students of Technology) which represents HEI students in STEM, and Universum - experts in research relating to student motivations and career choices.
A-STEP 2030 will bring long-term benefits to the participating organisations in addition to the 8 other project target groups at the local, regional and European level. It will provide numerous local, national and international events, conference and journal articles, workshops, webinars, webcasts, a webpage, studies and reports. In the short term we shall highlight the skills and competencies required of future Engineers, together with a learning activity for broad dissemination to teach high quality skills and competencies relevant to the labour market and societal needs.
In the longer term, we aim to increase awareness of the Engineering profession in Europe, highlighting the critical part that Engineers will play in solving global challenges. We will also promote excellence in high-level skills development as per the renewed EU agenda for higher education. We will showcase Engineering as a valuable and rewarding career, to encourage more diverse students to engage in engineering studies. This project is the first step in an ongoing collaboration between the consortium partners, one which we hope will continue beyond 2030, when we can show progress on meeting some of the SDGs.”