With the 2017/18 entries in and counted, more than 2,000 female students have now entered the national engineering competition Talent 2030 since it was launched by the National Centre for Universities and Business five years ago.

This year’s entry level topped 500 individuals and takes the total number of participating schools and colleges to more than 300.

Open to female students in secondary and college education, the competition forms part of a broader campaign designed to bring female talent into engineering and manufacturing industries.

Sponsored by Rolls-Royce, PepsiCo and Centrica, the competition asks entrants in three age categories (11-14, 15-16 and 17-18) to explore engineering solutions to twenty-first century problems that affect them.

This year, those issues ranged from to climate change, such as plastic pollution in oceans and air quality, cancer treatment, mental health and wellbeing, digital technology in healthcare, and gender inequality in education. The level of enthusiasm, imagination and intellect the entrants applied has been staggering.

“We are thrilled to have passed the 2,000 milestone, inspiring female school students to consider a career in engineering and technology. With GCSE physics reaching gender parity in 2017 there are indicators that we are beginning to move the needle, but nowhere near fast enough to avert a looming skills crisis.

“As outlined in the Industrial Strategy Whitepaper, the skills pipeline is a key priority for the UK Government. So, let us hope in this, the Year of Engineering, we see an acceleration in uptake throughout engineering education to produce the skilled, agile and productive workforce of tomorrow,” said David Docherty, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Universities and Business.

“We are committed to challenging the traditional bias that engineering is a masculine career, and therefore we welcome the opportunity to work with the National Centre to sponsor this competition,” commented Karen Roberts – Head of Talent and Executive Development at Centrica

With prizes of £1000 and a mentor for winners, plus cash awards for the runners-up, all shortlisted entrants are invited to the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham in March 2017, to exhibit their ideas and receive their certificates and prizes. All winners and finalists have the exclusive opportunity to visit our sponsor facilities.

The judging panel will meet in early February to determine the winners and runners-up in each age category which will be announced later that month.