*This is a commissioned post for The Year of Engineering*
Engineering is an exciting, rewarding career path however there’s a huge lack of young people who see it as a viable career option. As such, engineering is a profession significantly lacking in diversity – the engineering workforce is currently an astonishing 88% male and 92% white. Just imagine the considerable talent that could be going to waste. The Year of Engineering have spent 2018 challenging people’s ideas about engineering and inspiring the next generation of innovators, inventors and problem solvers by showing them what engineers actually do.
Nine-year-old Ben currently has aspirations of becoming an inventor when he grows up. He is confident that he is going to invent the world’s first time machine or teleporter and become a very rich man. His passion and talent for Maths and Science sets him up well for a career in Engineering however, whilst research demonstrates that between the ages of 7 and 11, natural curiosity and a love of making and doing, means that children enjoy the processes which are the heart of engineering, unfortunately, at secondary school, young people start to rule themselves out of a career in engineering, losing interest in STEM.
In an attempt to combat this and address cultural perceptions, the Year of Engineering and Marvel have teamed up to embed a positive perception of engineering at an early age – making it clear that engineering is a career for people from all walks of life. The More Heroes Needed Aptitude Test is designed to be a fun and engaging way to highlight the natural abilities that children have and then use this to show them how they are similar to their favourite Marvel characters and real-life engineers.
Thanks to Dave, Ben is a lifelong Marvel fan, so I knew immediately that the test would appeal to him! The test consists of a mix of multiple choice questions and three puzzles to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. Once you’ve completed the aptitude test, there is an explanation of your dominant characteristics and how they match up with one of the Marvel characters (I actually did the test myself out of interest and it came out that I was a team player and good at working collaboratively).
Ben really enjoyed taking the aptitude test, he put a lot of thought into his answers and I loved watching him working through the puzzles – I could practically see the cogs whirring as he figured out the best way to solve the problems he had been presented with. He finds this sort of challenge hugely satisfying. Ben’s results compared him to Rocket and focused on his curious nature – as you can imagine Ben was pretty chuffed to read all about how his mind is his greatest strength (something he already believes to be true – no modesty here!)
Ben went on to read all about why we need more engineers and realised that his desire to be an inventor is actually in line with choosing engineering as a career path (though the irony of the fact he would do very little to improve the diversity of the engineering workforce was not lost on us!) Ben tells me he has no intention of losing interesting science and maths as he gets older . . . fingers crossed that’s the case! Since taking the More Heroes Needed Aptitude Test, Ben and I have chatted more about what it means to be an engineer and what he needs to do in the meantime to achieve that goal. The test has made us both more aware of just what an impact engineers have on the world around us!
Why not take the More Heroes Needed Aptitude Test with your child and let me know in the comments how you got on. And, if you’re looking for something to keep your child’s mind and hands active this festive period, you can take a look at The Holiday Makers which is full of STEM based projects and challenges from the Year of Engineering to keep those inquisitive cogs whirring!