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Why we’re supporting the Year of Engineering

At NOCN we’re throwing our full support behind the government’s Year of Engineering campaign.

by Graham Hasting-Evans, MSc. MICE, C Eng, MiMgt, FCMI, Managing Director, NOCN Group

At NOCN and personally as a former civil engineering apprentice and long serving member of the Institute of Civil Engineers, we’re throwing our full support behind the government’s Year of Engineering campaign, which celebrates the engineering universe and all its wonders throughout 2018.

Although the discipline affects every aspect of our lives, far too few young people are attracted to it as a career – especially young girls and female sixth formers/undergraduates. This means that the sector is struggling to sign up the future talent upon which it will depend. Meanwhile, young people are missing out on the chance of fulfilling careers and to make a difference to their world.

As such, the Year of Engineering campaign (see @YoEgovuk on Twitter) will shake up perceptions of engineering. It will influence and expand public consciousness by reaching out in traditional and social media and via other offline and online routes - such as schools events and webinars.

Throughout 2018, it will inspire the next generation of inventors and problem solvers by showing them what engineers actually do. Drafted in to help will be hundreds of top professionals and organisations. They include galleries, museums and manufacturers of all types.

NOCN has 30 years’ experience creating opportunities in engineering. We work collaboratively with a number of Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing (STEM) industry organisations, such as the Pump Manufacturing Association, GQA, Laing O'Rourke and EDF Energy, to increase productivity and improve skills in the workforce.

Operating internationally and one of the UK’s leading awarding organisations, we offer the widest range of accredited qualifications and units available. Our courses and apprenticeships give employers a much wider knowledge base and help learners develop their skills in vital engineering industries. Partnering hundreds of STEM businesses and training providers, we support the entire apprentice journey, right through to successful completion. In addition, our newly-acquired Cskills Awards construction division offers scores of construction operations and civil engineering apprenticeships and other qualifications to choose from.

We believe that a crucial element in bringing more young people into engineering is by encouraging diversity – leaving nobody feeling that they are excluded because of their gender, heritage, sexuality, religion or background.

For example, we recently highlighted the industry estimate that if every male engineer had a female counterpart, the sector’s skills crisis would be solved at a stroke. Certainly, in 2015, when the Royal Academy of Engineers reported that the UK would need another million new engineers and technicians within five years (necessitating a doubling of the annual number of graduates and apprentices in these fields), women accounted for just ten percent of the workforce.

Achieving the 1:1 ratio, would be a major leap forward, to say the very least, but by encouraging even wider opportunity and inclusion, we can do a lot more to plug the yawning staff shortages and knowledge gaps.

NOCN has long promoted and practiced equality and diversity simply because it is the right thing to do. Indeed, we were the first awarding organisation and apprenticeship assessment organisation to receive a Leader in Diversity award from the National Centre for Diversity. However, making STEM sector employers as attractive as possible to all types of people across the UK is also a highly practical means to draw top talent, energy and innovation in far greater numbers. Our future productivity and success as a nation depends on it.

Find out more at and watch this space for engineering related content we’ll be sharing throughout the year.