I’m an Engineer, Stay at home is a free online service which puts school students in direct contact with real engineers.
The Tomorrow’s Engineers Zone of I’m an Engineer, Stay at home is open until 20 July and everyone can take part remotely, so it’s especially useful while schools are closed during the Coronavirus pandemic. In the zone students chat with engineers in real time and ask questions about things about their careers that they want to know, interacting through online moderated chat sessions.
The zone is in operation during the summer term and gives students the opportunity to connect with engineers from a wide range of backgrounds and industries, helping them see all the STEM careers available to them, as well as keeping them in touch with teachers and their classmates. During moderated text-based chat sessions students get to chat to STEM professionals as well as each other.
Teachers who have taken past in the past said that the sessions are “incredibly easy to set up and run,” and that their students “loved their involvement… I was amazed at some of the questions they asked.” Another commented "It's really encouraging for our students to see what they are learning might actually be useful!"
Only students who have been given access by their teachers can login to the zone, alongside the engineers and moderators conducting the sessions. No personal details are shared on the site, and all student content is moderated.
Here are some examples of the questions asked, and their replies:
What type of engineering do you do?
"I design electronics. At the moment for video systems but I’ve worked on inkjet printers, health monitors and data-centre systems (I designed the boxes that store large amounts of data on hard-disk drives)."
- Stephen Jeapes - Hardware Engineer - Facebook
"I’m a medical engineer… I’m also an academic engineer – I work at a university. So I spend my day doing a mixture of research in the laboratory and teaching new engineering students things like biomaterials."
- Claire Brockett - Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, University of Leeds
What was your most valuable/ useful subject at school?
"I really enjoyed CDT Technology and CDT Design and Commucation, but I have to say the most useful subjects have been the key subjects of Maths, English and Physics."
- Tom Rooney - Sonardyne International
"I think physics and maths. I struggle with maths, but it’s been worth it as it’s given me the opportunity to do lots of different things."
- Katie Sparks - National Railway Museum
Was this the dream you always wanted as a kid/teen?
"I was always interested in cars, my bicycle, remote control cars, computers, construction toys like Lego, Mechano, and Kinex, when I was a kid. I liked to take things apart and put them back together. So to become an engineer was a good role for me."
- Martin McKie - Jaguar Land Rover
What is the easiest and hardest part of engineering?
"The easiest part of engineering is probably enjoying it!! It is such a varied field, with so many different roles and responsibilities, you’re bound to find something you enjoy. The hardest part of engineering is keeping up with all the technological developments. To have the best solutions you really have to keep up with researching the newest software’s, materials and processes!"
- Frances Askill-Kirk - Polestar electric cars
The Tomorrow’s Engineers Zone is funded by EngineeringUK, The Institute of Physics, The Institution of Civil Engineers, The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, and UCL Engineering.