‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’ – Abraham Lincoln
On Tuesday 26 November, Head of Science, Mr Henderson and four year 12 students from saltash.net, Rebecca Fowell, Paul Olchowy, Liam Pollard and Jack Floyd got the early morning train to London for ‘Create the Future’ – a celebratory lunch and audience with Vint Cerf, 2013 QPrize winner and one of the Fathers of the Internet, Steve Holliday, Chief Executive of National Grid, David Willetts, Minister for Universities and Science, and Tamara Holmgren, Project Manager at Foster Wheeler Energy.
Reflecting on the opportunity to take part in this visit, Mr Henderson said, “It was a fantastic day out with a unique opportunity to visit the Royal Institution of Science. We had a look around the Faraday museum downstairs before making our way into the theatre. Vint Cerf was truly inspirational with stories from the very beginning of the internet to where he believes technology is heading now. Steve Holliday and Tamara Holmgren added their experiences from going into engineering and the brilliant work they get to do. Unfortunately David Willetts did not attend. Given all the changes taking place to our education system, I would have liked to have heard his response to comments from Vint that we need to ‘break the rigidity of the education system – it’s what destroys intellectual curiosity’.
After lunch in the Institution, there was time to quickly walk down to Buckingham Palace before heading for home and discussing the key messages from the day which were agreed as being:
- Engineering drives economic progress. In 2011, 24% of UK turnover was dependent on engineering. By 2020 we will need a further 1.25 million science, engineering and technology professionals and technicians. We will only meet this demand if many more young people consider engineering as a career.
- We must grow the pool of young people considering engineering and ensure that more young women (currently 6% of professional engineering) pursue the career. These ambitions resonate across the world because we need engineers to take on the challenges of the future.
- Our messages are global: engineering is an exciting and fulfilling career; engineers are at the heart of society; engineers create the future.
The school would like to thank the National Teaching Awards for the invitation to the Royal Institution of Science and for providing such a unique educational opportunity for staff and students.