Inspiring young people to engage in engineering education: The Aston University Engineering Academy Birmingham

Alison Halstead*, Mike Jerome, Anne Wheeler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


This paper initially reports concerns about the falling interest in engineering and mathematical disciplines and looks at some of the reasons for this. It then discusses the aims of the Engineering Diploma - a qualification for 14-19 year olds in the UK - and the pedagogical research that that has informed the design and development. The paper highlights the key learning theories that support the delivery of this qualification and provides an example of how this pedagogy has been applied effectively through the curriculum partnership that has been developed between a consortium of schools in the Birmingham local authority, Aston University and employers. It establishes the importance of aligning the curriculum and articulating clear engineering progression routes from the age of fourteen to enable young people to be inspired and motivated towards careers in engineering. The paper presents the view of parents, teachers and pupils involved with the Diploma, during the first year, and the way in which the partnership is informing future developments in the delivery of engineering curriculum within the region. The success of this regional partnership model has resulted in the Department of Children, Schools and Families agreeing to fund the development of the Aston University Engineering Academy Birmingham. This is a school for 14-19 year olds that will open in 2012 on the Aston Science Park adjacent to the University. The final part of the paper looks at the benefits to the young local engineers of this initiative.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Engineering Education Conference 2010 (EE2010)
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventEngineering Education 2010: Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Jul 20108 Jul 2010


ConferenceEngineering Education 2010
Abbreviated titleEE 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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