Week of Engineering - linking to Engineering e2e's public awareness campaign

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A small group of Wellington engineers agreed that promoting engineering can be done more effectively if companies collaborate rather than go it alone – so, they’re linking their new initiative to Engineering e2e’s public awareness campaign.

Promoting engineering more effectively

Senior managers from Opus, Beca, MWH and AECOM were discussing the ongoing problem – too few students coming into engineering and a general lack of knowledge about what engineers actually do. Their companies, like others, have been involved over the years in activities promoting engineering and engineering careers.  However, says Mike Kerr, “We’re all doing our own thing and it can be a bit haphazard – a firm might run an event or host a site visit, but these things are often based on prior relationships with schools. A whole lot miss out and we don’t reach a diverse range of students.”

Some of the group are involved with Futureintech he says. “We talked about what it achieves with limited resources and what companies, which are better funded, could do.” Concluding that the key to success is collaboration, they formed a committee and started working towards a new event – to promote engineering to secondary school students and the general public in Wellington’s CBD.

An industry-wide programme

The initiative, planned for August, will run as part of Engineering e2e’s Make the World public awareness campaign. “It’s going to be an industry-wide programme,” explains Eliza Sutton, “showing the diversity of engineering disciplines, not just what our companies do individually; we’ll leave our company colours at the door.”

There will be three one-day events catering for 300 Year 11-13 student altogether, culminating in a public open day on the Saturday. By locating it in a central city waterfront area with lots of through traffic, the committee hopes to attract students of all ages, parents, people interested in how engineering has formed Wellington, and passers-by.

So, how can you join in?

The committee hopes engineering employers and educators in Wellington will support the initiative. They plan to have Futureintech Ambassadors involved and want others to participate in activities such as:

  • Presentations to students and/or the public, including the public ‘expo day’ on Saturday
  • Site visits for school children to highlight the scope of work involved in engineering projects
  • Polytechnic and university students/graduates demonstrating their projects
  • Showcasing the diversity of engineering careers
  • Highlighting specific engineering feats in the Wellington area
  • Groups such as Engineers Without Borders

Where to next?

If the pilot programme is successful, the committee hopes to repeat it next year simultaneously in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. In the meantime, they suggest anyone thinking of doing something similar in their region should keep it small – things can get a bit unwieldy, they note, if lots of companies are involved in running an event.

It’s also a good idea to get other organisations on board.  Wellington City Council and the Ministry of Education have expressed some interest in being involved in some way.

Our thanks to Mike and Eliza for their time and advice; if you have any queries please contact

Image courtesy o Futureintech

April 2016