The problem we have is that in recent years of the work of engineers has not gained as much respect as it has done historically. In Germany, the profession of engineering is highly respected and perceived as an aspirational career, with engineers achieving the same prestige as doctors. I share the view with James Dyson that this is not the case in Britain. Dyson believes the best time to foster the potential of an engineer is at childhood and that continuing to study mathematics beyond GCSE level is key. 90% of German students continue with maths after 16, compared to Britain where we have the lowest levels of post-16 maths study in the developed economies. A week to celebrate science and engineering is incredibly important to help generate excitement for scientific professions and guide young people to make important subject decisions for their future.
Growing Technology Sector
There is further to go before we feel the full benefits of this growing industry, and we need to nurture it. According to Robin Klein, venture partner at Index Ventures, at least 20-30 companies (e.g. Wonga, JustEat, Zoopla) are ready to IPO but their growth is being hampered by taxes. Index Ventures, along with the CBI, TechCity, NESTA and the City of London are calling for the abolition of stamp duty on investments in the AIM market as a straightforward way to encourage more capital into the technology sector. The London Stock Exchange is also arguing for the tax not to be applied to its new High-Growth Segment when it launches later this month. Waiving the tax would promote growth for minimal cost considering the duty on AIM shares accounts for only 3% of total stamp duty revenue. This is something George Osborne could easily announce in the budget tomorrow. It would not only garner praise from the above mentioned institutions, but also contribute to the growth that all, including the chancellor, so crave.
Current State of British Engineering
by Foster + Partners 2010
Last year the Raspberry Pi computer, a British invention, was launched to international acclaim. It is a tiny computer, costing just £25, designed to be a ‘breadboard’ for people wanting to learn about computer engineering. Google is giving 15,000 of them to British schools for free to help get young people familiar with computing. Hopefully with this host of great recent achievements Britain has had on the world stage and weeks like the National Science and Engineering Week we can encourage the next generation of Scientists and Engineers and continue these successes in the future.
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