Qualitative Evaluation of Tomorrow's Engineers 2012/13 : Executive Summary

Suzanne Straw, Shona Macleod, Eleanor Stevens, Helen Everett

26 September 2013

The Tomorrow’s Engineers (TE) programme, led by EngineeringUK and the Royal Academy of Engineering, delivers engineering careers awareness through extra-curricular engineering activities delivered by a range of partners to young people in targeted schools across the UK. NFER undertook a qualitative evaluation of TE in 2012/13 to determine its impact and areas of effective practice to inform future plans for the programme.

The evaluation draws on qualitative data from nine case studies with schools undertaking TE activities; these included: a focus group with students taking part in the activity; in-depth interviews with teachers, delivery partners and STEM Ambassadors involved in the activity and an observation of the activity.

Key Findings

  • • As a result of taking part in TE activities pupils in the majority of case studies gained a better awareness and understanding of: what an engineer does; the diverse range of engineering jobs available to them; the need for creativity in engineering and the skills and STEM subjects they need to study for an engineering career.
  • In order of effectiveness, the activities which engaged pupils most effectively were those which: involved an interactive element; included an element of competition although the competition element had to be treated with caution and should not be the main emphasis; were relevant to, and challenged, pupils and opened up new horizons for them.