Talent 2030

Tell them while they’re young enough for it to make a difference


Chloe Agg is a Building Services Engineer and explains why inspiring the future generation from a young age is crucial, she is also publishing a book aimed at 4-7 year olds to help open their eyes to the world of construction.

My Mum is usually a very hard task master, when I got 99% in a science test at school once her response wasn’t “well done”, but “how did you lose the 1%?”. She’s also an amazingly intelligent woman with a PhD in psychology. So when she said to me a few years ago that seeing me doing my job impressed her, and made her wish that she had considered an engineering degree it made me feel incredibly proud. It also made me realise how important it is to open up the world of engineering to as wide an audience as possible.

How many people have missed out on exciting, fulfilling careers just because they didn’t know those roles existed, or didn’t know that they were able to do them? This seemed all the more important to me because I sort of fell into the role I now do. I had been working in medical device design, but a recruitment consultant explained building services to me and now I work in construction designing ventilation and absolutely love my job. Many of my colleagues have had similar experiences of falling into our industry rather than choosing it, but none of us would look back now.

But how do you tell the world about the amazing jobs there are in engineering? And more importantly, how do you tell them while they’re young enough for it to make a difference? Before they’ve chosen GCSEs or A-Levels, or even degrees which preclude them from working in engineering without retraining? My answer was to get very involved in STEMNET & to give regular talks in schools, to write a blog, and to mentor pupils. Even all of that though didn’t seem to be having much of an impact. Then I met Sarah Davis & Caroline Robinson, fellow female engineers with a passion for shouting about our industry.

Now the three of us have joined forces, and as well as continuing our engineering careers we are also writing & self-publishing a book together. The book tells 4-7 year olds about lots of construction careers and is intended to be freely distributed to primary schools. “Who Built Our Eco-School?” is currently in development, and absorbs a lot of my spare time, but it’s certainly a project I’m excited to be involved in. I’m really looking forward to seeing our book in the hands of children in a few months, and I would love to see it having an impact on the skills shortage in engineering in another 10-15 years time!

Last but not least, here is some information on the book:

“Who Built Our Eco-School” is aimed at children aged 4 -7 years old, with the view to open their eyes to the exciting and in depth world of construction. The book will include pop-ups and flaps. The aspiration of Chloe, Sarah & Caroline, who have just formed Green Duck Publishing, is to ensure every primary school child will have the opportunity to read the book. They plan to start in March 2015 by supplying 10 books to pilot schools in Somerset and the launch will coincide with Eco-Build 2015 and World Book Day on 5th March 2015.

The book’s creators are in discussion with several companies about funding, and are also in liaison with various industry bodies such as the IET, RIBA and the BBA, who look set to endorse it. The BBA has even assisted with the search for funding by posting a media pack out to all of their mailing list. If you would like to see the media pack, please click here.

The book will also be crowd funded. If you would like to buy a copy for yourself (or your kids!), or would like to donate one or more to a school, please keep an eye out on Kickstarter where we will shortly be launching our campaign.

Chloe is a building services engineer; she designs heating, ventilation, air conditioning and piped services like gas & compressed air. She has done the designs for food & pharmaceutical factories, laboratories, schools, student residences, and historical refurbishments amongst other things.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *