TV presenter and aviation enthusiast Carol Vorderman has launched a drive to boost the number of young people studying for a career in engineering.
The former Countdown presenter, who has a degree in engineering from Cambridge University, used her visit to the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire to make the call.
The 53-year-old has teamed up with aerospace, defence and security firm, BAE Systems, one of the country’s largest employers of engineers, to encourage young people to look at ‘STEM’ subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics as a career choice.
She met with around 1,000 local schoolchildren at RIAT where she took a seat in one of the world’s leading fighter jets, the Eurofighter Typhoon, built by a four-nation consortium including BAE Systems in Lancashire.
Carol told the youngsters: “You only have to look around you to realise what can be achieved by engineering, whether it is the cars we drive, the gadgets we use or the homes we live in – they are all products of engineering.
“A product like Typhoon shows you what can be achieved through world-class engineering and that is why I believe it is so important that we continue to push STEM subjects with young people.
“We need to act today to ensure we get the engineers of tomorrow.”
Alongside the television presenter, famed for her lightning mental arithmetic, to meet the schoolchildren at RIAT was Flt Lt Noel Rees, the RAF pilot hand-picked to show off the skills of the Typhoon at air shows throughout Europe this summer.
Typhoon is the world’s leading swing-role fighter aircraft, meaning it can switch seamlessly between air-to-air and air-to-ground attack, which is used in frontline action by air forces including the RAF.
The Royal Academy of Engineering’s report on ‘Jobs and Growth’ forecasts that, between 2012
and 2020, the UK economy will require 830,000 professional scientists, engineers and technologists.
This works out at over 100,000 new professionals each year.
Earlier this year, Carol flew in to Warton, Lancashire where BAE Systems’ Military Air and Information (MAI) business assembles Typhoons, to launch its new Engineering Higher Apprenticeship which is due to begin next year aimed at A-Level students.
It is one of a number of schemes run by the company to boost the number of high-quality engineers in the country.