Time to engineer some happiness…

ICE prepares to go viral with new engineering happiness video. Miranda Housden, Director, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) London explains.

Our work with schools to promote civil engineering as a career, and the STEM subjects our future engineers need to study at GCSE and A-Level, sees us connect with young people through a range of channels such as competitions, mentoring, and fun, practical activities. 

Through this engagement, I have been both amazed and encouraged to see just how many young boys and girls are gifted with the attributes, skills and interests that sit at the very heart of engineering - a fascination with the latest technology, a need to design, create and build things, an inquisitiveness about how things work and why. Many of these are also naturally adept at maths and physics.  

The challenges our industry faces are well rehearsed, and we can’t change things overnight, but we can all help to challenge perceptions and be ambassadors for our own profession

Yet only half of 11-14 year olds say they would consider a career in engineering, and less than one in ten plans to be an engineer once they finish their education.

It seems young people – despite our efforts and the collaborative initiatives under the Tomorrow’s Engineers partnership such as the hugely successful Big Bang Fair – still don’t really know enough about our profession, or can’t translate what they do know into an actual career. Others can’t see that this is a career well within their grasp, and many still carry the perception that engineering - and engineers - are uncreative and boring. 

At ICE London, we’ve been working on a somewhat different approach to help bust this myth - using pop music and social media to showcase and share the awe-inspiring projects civil engineers help to create and importantly show who our people really are – diverse, creative, vivacious, smart teams who make a difference to our lives every single day. 

This Friday, the civil engineers behind some of London’s iconic infrastructure projects will put on their dancing shoes, showing how happy they are to be engineers and the exciting careers on offer through choosing maths and physics at school.  

They will be dancing in a short film to the catchy hit single “Happy” by American singer Pharrell Williams, which has reached number one in over a dozen countries and is hugely popular with teenagers.

London infrastructure projects and teams featured in the film include Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Thames Barrier, London Underground, Walton Bridge, Kings Cross Station and the Hammersmith Flyover. Some well-known civil engineers and politicians can also be spotted happy and dancing in the film along with members of the public and students. 

The challenges our industry faces are well rehearsed, and we can’t change things overnight, but we can all help to challenge perceptions and be ambassadors for our own profession – as many across the industry have done by participating in our “Engineering Happiness” film, produced with the help of Bechtel. We encourage everyone to watch it and share it widely, and join us in inspiring the next generation of engineers.

What you need to do:

This Friday, look out for the film on Infrastructure Intelligence or via Twitter and Linked In.

Watch the film. 

Share the film far and wide – to the general public, school children, teachers, MPs, the engineering community, universities, the science community and more.

You can do this by:

  • Retweeting ICE and others tweets through the day
  • Tweeting about the film using hashtag: #engineeringhappiness:
  • Uploading the film onto your website – by embedding it, or uploading the press release and link 
  • Uploading it onto your intranet/sharing it with staff/colleagues
  • Forwarding it to your networks 
  • Sharing it with your friends
  • Including it in any newsletters