General Electric (GE) has announced a five-year, $3.5 million (£2.5m) investment in the UK as part of its global Next Engineers programme, to increase the diversity of young people entering engineering. The UK programme will be based in Staffordshire, where GE operates three sites that design, develop, and service products used throughout the power and renewable energy industries.
Next Engineers aims to inspire more than 3,500 local students aged 13-18, providing first-hand experiences of engineering, and awarding financial support to pursue further education in engineering.
Kevin O’Neill, President & CEO, GE UK, said: “Our growing global economy will require more engineers to solve society’s most pressing challenges – from clean energy to quality healthcare and more sustainable flight. Next Engineers will provide a platform for Staffordshire’s young people from different backgrounds to bring their unique perspectives to engineering and help address these important issues, enthusing and introducing them to the hands-on learning experiences they will need to pursue engineering careers.”
Staffordshire is one of four global locations so far announced by GE, joining Johannesburg, South Africa, along with Cincinnati and Greenville in the United States.
Theo Clarke MP, Stafford, said: “Having an initiative like Next Engineers coming to our community is fantastic for young people locally. We were already fortunate to have a top global employer like GE in the region, but local students now have the opportunity to explore viable engineering careers that they had previously thought were unattainable. It really is an amazing opportunity for our young people.”
Next Engineers is a signature programme of the GE Foundation, an independent charitable organisation funded by GE. The GE Foundation is partnering with MyKindaFuture, the UK’s leading HR tech company specialising in engaging and onboarding underrepresented talent, to implement Next Engineers in the UK.
Next Engineers will offer one-hour sessions and hands-on activities for the youngest (Year 9) students. Weeklong Engineering Camps will be run during the school holidays for those in Year 10. There will also be an Engineering Academy providing three-years of out of school coaching for Year 11-13 students. Those accepted onto engineering apprenticeships or engineering degrees will also receive a funding contribution from the GE Foundation.
The Staffordshire investment is part of a $100 million, long-term, international Next Engineers programme which GE Foundation unveiled earlier this year, designed to reach more than 85,000 students across 25 locations globally over the next decade.
With 125 years of experience in the U.K. and Ireland, GE employs approximately 9,000 employees across the region.