INDUSTRY LINKS CASE STUDY
What's the best way to raise awareness of careers in engineering? It's when engineers talk to students about what they do. But getting into schools is difficult, and ensuring presentations to students are effective can be problematic. That's where Futureintech comes in...
What is Futureintech?
Futureintech promotes careers in technology, engineering and science. It was founded by IPENZ (Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand) in 2003 to address skills shortages in New Zealand‘s technology, engineering and science-based industries. Futureintech is currently funded by Callaghan Innovation and the Ministry for Primary Industries.
A link between schools and employers
Many employers would like to have access to schools to help raise awareness of engineering and their specific industry. In turn, science, technology, maths teachers and careers advisors are keen for engineers to show students how their class work relates to ‘real jobs’.
So, where’s the problem? It’s really hard for people to make the right contacts, organise visits to fit in with school timetables and, importantly, engage students in their presentation or activity. Futureintech’s role is to make those links between schools and industry.
Facilitators recruit early-career technologists, engineers and scientists as Ambassadors who visit schools to talk about their jobs, study, career opportunities and the relevance of what students are learning in class. Ambassadors complete online training modules which prepare them for school visits, and are supported by their Facilitators in developing presentations or activities suitable for the age group they’ll be talking to.
For employers, partnering with Futureintech brings benefits to the company. Ambassadors can improve their public speaking skills, use their participation as evidence of continuing professional development, and help raise the profile of their company and the industry in general.
Volunteering as a Neighbourhood Engineer
Ambassadors, along with engineers who aren’t involved in Futureintech, also work with students on Transpower Neighbourhood Engineers Awards projects.
The Awards provide a practical way to enhance the Technology curriculum for Year 1 to 13 students, encourage innovative thinking and inspire students to consider a career in technology or engineering-related fields.
Highlighting pathways to engineering
Futureintech produces a range of print and online publications. These include information on different engineering study pathways, profiles of Ambassadors and profiles of companies which employ engineers.
Students are often unaware of cadetships as a way into an engineering career, so the Futureintech website promotes cadetship programmes for students working towards a technology, engineering or science related diploma or degree. It also provides information on technology, engineering and science-related scholarships available to school leavers, including scholarships funded by engineering companies.
Judging a programme’s success can be tricky as there are many aspects which contribute to a student’s career decision. Anecdotal reports, however, indicate that Futureintech Ambassadors do make an impact in raising student awareness of engineering as a career and inspiring some to go on to tertiary engineering study.
In 2015, Futureintech had 519 industry partners who allowed their employees to volunteer their time – over 830 Ambassadors visited 60,314 students at 329 schools.
Over 12 years of Futureintech activity, enrolments in tertiary technology, engineering and science courses have risen. While, of course, this can’t be directly attributed to the programme, it is definitely pleasing to see.
Interested in working with your local school?
The Engineering e2e team is keen to see employers making links with local schools to provide young people with an insight into the world of engineering. It’s a great way to enhance their understanding of how engineers contribute to our society and influence their career decisions.
The Futureintech service to schools is available in many regions, and any school can enter the Transpower Neighbourhood Engineers Awards.
To find out more about how you or your employees can get involved with local schools, contact Futureintech: email@example.com
Background and issues
Governance and Implementation
Steering group members
Educational Advisory Group
Employers Influencing Educational Change
Graduate Capability Work
A guide to Engineering qualifications
Secondary-Tertiary Pathways Project
Graduate Capability Work
What We've Discovered
What Others Have Discovered
What Others Are Doing
What's Making Us Think
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