As published by WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) “The UK will need 87,000 engineers qualified at level 4+ and 69,000 qualified at level 3 in each year between now and 2020 to meet demand in the industry.” Being an Engineer in the 21st Century is both a challenging and rewarding career and at Talent 2030 we hope to increase the number of females pursuing these roles. Engineers have great responsibilities that cover an array of industries and are constantly problem solving. We spoke with Talent 2030 Hero Sakthy Selvakumaran who answered an important question for us:
How do you think engineers solve the challenges of the 21st Century?
“Working as a Civil Engineer, I have become aware of many challenges we face in modern society. Civil engineers are tackling some of the world’s grandest challenges, from supplying energy, to maintaining the environment, to developing infrastructure for rapidly growing urban environments. To tackle these challenges, engineers’ focus must be multi-faceted, multi-disciplined and holistic. As engineers, we communicate our findings and ideas but also learn from other settings and disciplines in order to understand wider issues. The ability of engineers to open up effective communication channels is pivotal, because such channels play a vital role in influencing positive changes to government policy.
However, it is not just enough for engineers to develop new technologies to deal with these issues, or to simply build more or less. We develop technology that is a balance between a multitude of factors, be it cost, time, programme, public opinion, the environment…the list goes on. Project teams include a multitude of stakeholders, many of whom are not engineers, but professionals from disciplines such as environmental and social sciences, law, and finance. As projects move from design to construction, numerous specialised trades come together to form the delivery process. Engineers must be able to contribute their ideas but also take on board the wider issues and implications to develop appropriate solutions.
Engineering requires more than an ability to deal with numbers and technology. Engineers must have excellent problem-solving and communication skills, which enable them to develop solutions for societal infrastructure; use technology in harmony with the environment; and build capabilities, communities and countries. These skills play an important role in designing and managing projects and organisations, and influencing decision-makers.
Engineers are good at technology. Engineers need to be good at people too. By taking the time to understand the context, by embracing complexity and by acting as mediators between people and technology through communication and engagement, engineers will be able to understand technology’s impact and influence it for the better.”
Do you have an idea for how engineers can solve the challenges of the 21st Century? Enter our National Engineering Competition for Girls for the chance to win £1000 (deadline for entries is 21st December 2013)