An Aberdeen-based engineering expert has called for greater support to help students develop the necessary skills to safeguard the industry’s future prosperity.
Dr. Ollie Folayan, chairman of AFBE-UK Scotland, was invited to address a group of around 70 educators, researchers and engineers from across the UK at the London South Bank University in recognition of the work undertaken through the not-for-profit organisation’s Transition initiative.
Representatives at the Educating Enterprising Engineers & Scientists conference, held at the university’s Nathu Puri Institute, shared ideas and examples of best practice for embedding enterprise in to engineering education.
AFBE-UK (the Association for BME Engineers) promotes engineering as a career choice among young people from under-represented groups, particularly those of black and minority ethnic (BME) origin.
An AFBE-UK group, including Ollie Folayan, Nike Folayan and Philip Enegela, were invited to attend the conference following the submission of an academic paper, titled, Impact of role models on the progression from student life to the world of work.
The paper by Folayan, Folayan and Enegela demonstrated the importance of preparing university graduates for the world of work, citing examples from skills and employability programme, Transition, which is currently being run by AFBE-UK in Aberdeen.
Ollie Folayan said: “AFBE's presentation was unique amid the discussion of the dearth of skilled, creative and business focused engineers, as we were the only organisation that had actually engaged prospective engineers from the early years through to education, and subsequent quantum leap to a career as an engineering professional.
“All of the available evidence makes a compelling case for the need of a programme, such as Transition, to ensure young people throughout the UK are leaving education properly equipped with the necessary skills that employers are looking for. Without this vital support structure in place, there is a real danger that the industry as a whole will lose this tremendous pool of talent to other business sectors.
“For me, the conference restated how well positioned AFBE-UK is to promote engineering within the BME community. It was heartening to see that our role in the preparation of prospective engineers for the world of work is increasingly being recognised for its ability to help young people on their journey towards becoming engineering professionals.”