Plant & Works Engineering
Call for volunteers from diverse backgrounds
Published:  03 December, 2019

EngineeringUK is seeking enthusiastic STEM professionals from wide-ranging backgrounds to volunteer across one of its programmes for young people.

The Big Bang Fair, Robotics Challenge and Energy Quest programmes would love to see more volunteer applications from women, scientists and engineers from LGBTQI and different ethnic backgrounds, and apprentices and academics who come from a diverse range of careers.

Women are underrepresented in engineering, making up only 12% of the workforce, and at A level only 29% of girls’ take STEM subjects. Black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) are also underrepresented in the engineering sector.

EngineeringUK is calling for STEM professionals from non-traditional backgrounds to volunteer for its events to act as role models and demonstrate that anyone can become an engineer or scientist.

Dr Hilary Leevers, chief executive of EngineeringUK said, “We’re really grateful to all the hundreds of inspirational STEM volunteers who go above and beyond to support our engagement programmes and help with the smooth running of the regional events for the Robotics Challenge, Energy Quest and the largest UK-wide STEM event, The Big Bang Fair.

“We would love to see greater representation of volunteers from different backgrounds whether that be gender, sexual orientation, race and physical abilities because we want every young person from all backgrounds to see that STEM can offer a varied, stimulating and rewarding career.”

Many employers offer corporate volunteering days to staff as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility and recognise it helps improve employee satisfaction and retention. For the volunteers themselves, it’s a chance to give back to their local community, be rewarded for existing knowledge and develop new skills.

The Big Bang Fair, which takes place at the NEC in Birmingham from 11-14 March 2020, needs 100 volunteers every day of The Fair. There are volunteering opportunities across 1 to 4 days ranging from Career Captains, who share careers inspiration, to leading volunteer teams and delivering hands-on activities to judging student projects for the Big Bang UK Competition and final of the Robotics Challenge, which will be held on Friday 13 March as part of The Fair.

Previous volunteer Puja Hazlehurst, said: “Understanding young people and supporting them is a key to our future success in science and engineering and The Big Bang Fair offered a great opportunity to help me gain some of that experience.”

The deadline for applications for The Big Bang Fair is Monday 9 December and details of how to apply can be found on The Big Bang website.

Other EngineeringUK programmes also seeking diverse range of volunteers are Tomorrow’s Engineering Energy Quest, which consists of a half-day workshop designed to inspire young people while also developing their knowledge of energy systems. Events are held across England, Scotland and Wales. Details of how to get involved can be found on the Energy Quest website.

The Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge is also looking for volunteers to support its 30 regional heats taking place across the UK between January and March 2020. As part of the new Challenge, students will build, program and control LEGO robots for a series of environmentally themed missions to discover what engineers can do to create a cleaner, more sustainable world.

Both programmes are looking for volunteer ambassadors who will help make the events exciting and memorable for the students. Regional events are held in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ken Mollison, Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge volunteer, said: “I attended thinking I would promote engineering and technology and inspire others. In fact, the reverse happened. I came away inspired by the creativity and technical ability of our young people. This I found truly inspiring."

To apply for volunteer positions for regional events for Robotics Challenge, contact the delivery partners directly.