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Chair in Emerging Technologies Susan Gourvenec signs the #ThisIsEngineeringDay pledge on behalf of the University of Southampton, committing to challenging outdated views of engineering

Published: 6 November 2019
This is Engineering Day

Today, Wednesday 6 November, is ‘This is Engineering’ Day – a major campaign by the Royal Academy of Engineering to celebrate the engineers shaping the world around us, while challenging misconceptions of the profession. The campaign is also aimed at addressing the significant skills and diversity shortfall hampering engineering today.

To address these issues, we’re pleased to announce that our University has signed the ‘This is Engineering’ pledge to reflect the breadth and diversity of engineering by making representative images of engineers and engineering more visible to the public.

“We’re pleased to join other universities and organisations in signing this pledge which firmly commits us to clearly reflect the breadth and diversity of our profession,” said Professor Susan Gourvenec from the School of Engineering and RAEng Chair in Emerging Technologies. “Engineering is an exciting, varied and rewarding career, and yet the UK has a shortage of young people applying for engineering courses and engineering jobs.”

One of the major barriers to young people aspiring to be engineers is deeply-rooted cultural perceptions of engineering as narrow, mechanical, too technical, and dull: a perception that’s being reinforced online. Representative images for ‘engineers’ on online search engines offer a very narrow view, one that supports stereotypical ideas that engineering only happens in hard hats, on construction sites.

“One of the prime reasons for this shortage is that many people hold outdated views of what engineering is and we will work hard to change that public perception by showing a different and more representative image of the engineering in the 21st Century,” said Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Dean of Engineering and Physical Sciences.



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