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How the James Dyson Foundation is hitting key engineering educational targets, according to new EngineeringUK report

EngineeringUK has released their latest report which outlines key statistics about the current landscape of engineering and the importance of driving STEAM education. The James Dyson Foundation exists to inspire the next generation of engineers with the hope that they leave education equipped and excited to enter the largest growing career space between now and 2030[1].

The James Dyson Foundation’s main objective is to support engineering education from primary school to university level. One of the ways we achieve this is by providing educational workshops and free resources inspired by Dyson's approach to engineering. According to the EngineeringUK report, students who attended one or more STEM careers activity are three and a half times more likely to know what people working in engineering do and are more than three times more likely to consider a career in engineering[1].

Last year, the Foundation reached over 13,000 students in the UK through 400 workshops and events. Over time, this has amounted to 1000 workshops and events, reaching 143,000 students in the UK since 2005. These workshops include our rapid prototyping workshop, giving primary school students a chance to get hands-on with prototyping materials to build their own solutions to problems they can identify in the classroom. We also run workshops for secondary school students which encourage them to create solutions to the growing issue of air pollution problem in their local community, as well as robotics workshops for sixth form students which enable students to experience coding. On a larger scale, we visit events such as the Royal International Air Tattoo and Cheltenham Science Festival where students take on engineering challenges using our Challenge Cards.

As the engineering industry continues to diversify, so do our resources. In September 2023 we launched a new resource, Engineering Solutions: The Future of Farming , which emboldens primary school students to explore the use of engineering in the farming industry, as well as the environmental impact of farming. The EngineeringUK report states that ‘those who make the link between engineering roles and environmental sustainability are seven times more likely to be interested in engineering careers[1]. Since the launch of this resource, the Foundation has already donated over 100 boxes to primary schools located in the north of the UK, reaching over 3,000 students. Find out more about the James Dyson Foundation’s free educational resources here.

EngineeringUK has found that Design and Technology (D&T) GCSE uptake has decreased in the last 5 years by 48%[1]. The James Dyson Foundation believes that a D&T curriculum based on iterative design and problem-led project-based learning is more relevant and engaging to students. The Foundation put this to the test, working with five schools in Bath from 2012 to 2018 to improve D&T provision, updating their equipment and schemes of work. You can read the full report here. As a result, 44% more students chose to study D&T in GCSE, and nearly double stated they enjoyed D&T lessons more. The updated lesson plans and schemes of work are free to download under the resources page on our website

We also support students through to university with our flagship project, the James Dyson Award. The award is an international competition that supports young engineers and designers, acting as a springboard to launch their own inventions. Through prize money and media exposure, over 70% of international winners have gone on to commercialise their inventions, remaining in the engineering career sector.

The James Dyson Foundation strives to be a leading example of STEAM education continuing to develop our work to best inspire the next generation of engineers. Taking our learnings from the Bath school study, and other institutions, the Foundation is looking at how we can better engage the educators and teachers that implement D&T curriculums and our resources.


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