NATS inspires children at local engineering event
Hampshire-based air traffic control company NATS has sponsored this year’s Solent Festival of Engineering event, organised by local MPs in an effort to raise awareness of careers in the sector.
More than 600 people, including children from various local primary and secondary schools across the South Coast, attended the event on Thursday 8 November at Fareham Leisure Centre.
There were several interactive activities on NATS’ stand, including a flight tracking game and virtual reality experience. The attendees were shown how engineering skills are used in the Air Traffic Management industry, in the hope that this will encourage them to consider STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) related subjects at school.
NATS engineers act as a focal point for air traffic control, working to deliver and maintain operational systems and equipment. Their day job ranges from designing air traffic control technology to maintaining the UK’s network of radar stations.
Suella Braverman, MP for Fareham, said: “Engineering has changed the world; whether through space travel, cancer treatment, the internet, protecting animals, forecasting the weather or faster trains and cars. But we face a national skills challenge: insufficient numbers of young people are choosing to study these subjects at school, college or university.”
The UK faces an estimated shortfall of 20,000 engineering graduates* every year, with half of companies in the sector saying the shortage is having a significant impact on their productivity and growth.
She said: “I am very pleased that NATS are one of our main sponsors for the event. Children and aspiring engineers of the future can now see the exciting potential of working in the Air Navigation and Control industry.”
This event is in support of The Year of Engineering, a government campaign launched at the beginning of the year. Working with hundreds of industry partners, their aim is to raise awareness of engineering careers amongst young people aged 7-16, their parents and teachers.
Pictured: Attendees enjoying NATS’ activities at the event.
*2017 Engineering UK: the state of engineering study, published by Engineering UK.