Page 1: Introduction
In an increasingly service-orientated world of work, it is easy to miss the vital role engineers play in transforming our lives. Engineering is the crucible in which scientific, mathematic and design skills come together. The engineering industry makes up nearly one-fifth of the UK economy and employs over 4.5 million people. The UK is still the world’s seventh biggest manufacturer. Engineering is a key part of a range of industries including music, TV and film, construction, transport, cosmetics, medicine, food and fashion.
Britain has been a leader in engineering for over 300 years. British engineers transformed modern transport by designing and building some of the first railway engines (Thomas Stevenson), ships (Isambard Kingdom Brunel), aeroplanes (Geoffrey de Havilland) and motor cars (Rolls-Royce). They also developed new road building techniques, bridges and viaducts.
More recently engineers have embraced new technologies and materials to create alternative energy sources, such as, wave power (from the sea) and credit card sized computers that plug straight into your TV (Raspberry Pi). They have designed high tech, energy-efficient buildings such as the new Olympic Park for the London 2012 Games. It was a British engineer and entrepreneur, Tim-Berners Lee, who first developed the World Wide Web on which the internet runs. For more information and insight into the impacts on our lives of engineering visit www.ietfaraday.org.
To be at the leading edge of engineering development, it is important for engineers to share their ideas. This is where the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) plays a vital role. The IET is a world leading professional organisation with the vision to share and advance knowledge, promoting science, engineering and technology across the world. Through professional development, partnerships and networking the IET offers a professional home for life. It is a trusted source of essential engineering intelligence to over 150,000 members across 127 countries. Anyone with an interest in engineering can join the IET (www.theiet.org) to network with people with similar interests.
The IET has developed close partnerships with businesses and are licensed to award a range of engineering qualifications such as CEng, IEng, Eng Tech and ICT Tech. Businesses have a massive demand for more engineers and technicians. The IET is heavily involved with running activities for students and developing resources for science, maths and technology teachers to enable students to see the relevance of their learning to the engineering sector.
Engineering skills are particularly effective when combined with enterprise. This case study examines the relationship between engineering and enterprise and the role that the IET has played in developing engineer entrepreneurs.