Inspiring the engineers of the future!

Throughout 2018, we complemented the government’s Year of Engineering campaign with our own initiatives to inspire and encourage young people into a career in engineering.

Why 2018 was the Year of Engineering …

The Year of Engineering campaign aimed to help tackle a growing skills gap in the sector by encouraging young people to train as engineers and related professionals.

What’s the aim?

We need more engineers!

The government estimates that the UK needs 1.8 million trained engineers by 2025 in order to carry out major infrastructure plans across roads, railways and more.

At Highways England we have ambitious plans to transform our motorways and trunk roads using the latest technologies. This will create many opportunities for young people to develop rewarding careers planning, building and supporting the smooth running of our roads.

We need to encourage more young people to enter our sector. So throughout the Year of Engineering and beyond we’re involved in a number of initiatives to engage with them and show them how they can become engineers of the future.

How we’re making a difference

Attending major events across the country

  • Throughout the year we visited a number of careers events to engage and inspire young people.

    In March, we took part in The Big Bang Fair at the NEC, Birmingham. The event attracted 80,000 young scientists and engineers over four days. Our Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan and HR Director San Johal also attended the fair to speak to young delegates.

    And we went to the World Skills Live show in November, where we opened up the exciting world of technology and engineering to around 75,000 students.

Taking time out to volunteer

Members of our senior leadership team visited local schools to deliver classes and workshops.

Major Projects Board Director Peter Mumford volunteered his time, along with other senior members of staff, at Shireland Collegiate Academy School in the Midlands.

  • We visited King David’s School in Moseley, Birmingham and challenged Years 3, 4 and 5 to build a tower from raw spaghetti and marshmallows.

    The team used resources from our volunteering packs to create the sessions for the children.

  • We held sessions with 240 pupils at St Michael’s school in Rowley Regis, Sandwell.

    We explained what happens on a project and showed pupils that people just like them can work in our sector.


Regional Control Centre open days

Welcome to our Control Centres!

For the first time, we opened our doors by inviting members of the public to come and find out about what we do. Our Open Days aim to inspire our younger visitors and demonstrate the skills and expertise needed to keep the nation’s busiest roads moving.

Our Yorkshire and North East Regional Control Centre in Wakefield was the first to welcome customers from across the region in June.

Visitors viewed the control room to find out about how signs and signals are set. They also met engineers from major projects and operations, and learned about the latest local schemes. Traffic Officers allowed young guests and adults to explore some of our vehicles – the bullhorn was particularly popular!

What’s next?

The 2018 Year of Engineering was just the beginning. Over the coming months and years, we plan to create a long-term legacy of engaging with school children and encouraging them to become the much-needed engineers of the future.