South Gloucestershire and Stroud College.
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Great opportunities for teenagers to engineer their future

Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent announcement that she wants technical education to receive the same respect and opportunity as universities may have surprised many people, but the number of job vacancies in manufacturing and engineering far exceeds that of trained, qualified people available to fill them. As Stroud district has been a powerhouse of industrial creativity and innovation for hundreds of years, Festomane - Stroud’s Festival of Manufacturing and Engineering - will be playing its part in helping the area maintain this position by offering plenty of free careers’ advice during a week of activities which starts on the 9th February.

The Prime Minister made her comments during the recent launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. One of its aims is to help young people do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future and boost the country’s economy. It will support the building of institutes of technology in every region.  In Stroud district, the manufacturing and engineering sector already employs over 24% of the local workforce and within Gloucestershire, it’s the largest economic sector accounting for 20% of the county’s output. On a national level, manufacturing and engineering produced 27.1% of the country’s GDP in 2014 and, despite the current global slow-down, the sector grew by 7% during 2015 with growth predicted to continue beyond 2020.

However, a lack of enough qualified staff means manufacturing and engineering companies are finding it hard to capitalise on growth opportunities due to an annual shortfall of 55,000 people with the appropriate engineering, maths, and technology skills.

Because this shortage, along with facts such engineering graduates earn the second highest starting salaries (beaten only by medical graduates), Festomane is promoting the message to teenagers and young people that engineering and manufacturing offer a vast range of opportunities for them to develop their skills and careers. 

Festomane’s ‘Engineer Your Future’ careers’ workshop on Saturday 11th February  will help young people and their families better understand the variety of career options available in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing. Attendees will hear talks by key people in some of the area’s leading companies such as Renishaw and Schlumerger, and be inspired by the stories of young people (women as well as men) who are already pursuing successful careers.

Attendees will also receive lots of information about work experience, qualifications and apprenticeships available. Plus they’ll take part in engineering challenges such as how to protect a cargo of humanitarian aid dropped from altitude, how to make a motor, and how to construct a wind turbine.

The ‘Engineer Your Future’ careers’ workshop is aimed at students aged between 14-18 and is free to attend but attendees must be accompanied by a parent or guardian as research shows that it is the encouragement from a key adult in a young person’s life that contributes to their career decision. 

Places are limited so booking is essential. For more information, visit

For anyone not able to make the workshop, and for adults considering a career change, there’ll be the opportunity to talk to local companies about job opportunities during the ‘Creation & Innovation Revealed’ exhibition on Wednesday 15th February between 10am – 5pm. As well as plenty of fun activities and shows, there’ll be displays by local manufacturing and engineering companies whose representatives will be happy to talk to people about their latest products and innovations, and their staffing needs.