I am immensely proud and humbled that I survived the evictions and was ultimately chosen as winner for the Safety Category! A huge thanks to all of you who voted.
I’ve been asked to write a short message to leave here as some parting words – so here it goes:
Firstly, a huge thanks and congratulations to all the students that took part! I hope that everyone enjoyed the event as much as I did. There were some really, really great questions lined up for the engineers to answer – so well done for that!
I’d like to thank the other engineers (in reverse alphabetical order, in true imanengineer tradition!): Philippa, Pete, Paula and Matthew – it’s clear that they are really knowledgeable in their respective fields. It was great learning so much about other industries, and what the other engineers get up to in their careers: engineering is such a large and diverse subject, and there are always areas where you can learn more! I’ve picked up wisdom about Roads from Philippa, Planes and Safety from Pete, Wings from Paula, and Software from Matthew! So thanks to you all for the knowledge.
That said, I think I’ve learnt the most through the breadth and depth of questions from students at this event. There were questions that I probably don’t ask myself enough:
What are the parts of engineering I like the most?”
“What do I plan to do in the future?”
“Why should I recommend engineering?”
I’ve enjoyed answering questions on pipeline materials, Archimedes (the Ancient Greek!), pipeline behaviour, osmium (didn’t know anything about this beforehand!), engineering challenges for the future, and the gender issue in engineering… and consolidated my own understanding/learnt new things along the way. It has been a lot of fun!
I’m planning to use the £500 money to invest in a STEM-based puzzle scenario to engage students with STEM subjects and improve teamwork and problem solving skills. The scenario will be filled with cryptic clues, clever puzzles and fun mysteries that teams of students must find and solve within the time limit in order to win the game. The challenges will typically lead on from one another: finding a key may open a box that is locked, solving a puzzle may give you the 4 digits for a combination lock that is locking a drawer, or solving a riddle may tell you where to look to find the next clue. The game will be won when a particular object or answer is found. It’s at an early “ideas” stage just now, but I’m hopeful that I can make it work!
I hope that everyone has felt inspired to some extent… you don’t necessarily need to become an engineer, but I hope that the other engineers and myself have let you see what engineering involves, how we found ourselves in the industry, and why we think it’s a rewarding line of work. As long as we have given more information about engineering and other science and technology professions so that a more informed choice can be made, and helped dispel some common stereotypes to promote diversity along the way, I think we have done our job. The end result will, with any luck, be a more creative and numerous engineering workforce in the future – which our country will probably need!
One thing I think is for sure: the 21st Century will be an exciting time to be an engineer!
All the best.