Network Rail has become a national partner in a UK-wide competition to find the engineers of the future, with the 2019 edition launched at Gatwick Airport yesterday morning.

The competition – “If you were an engineer, what would you do?” – is a free, annual event that asks pupils from primary and secondary schools to interview engineering professionals, identify a problem and design a solution, inspiring them to discover the engineer they could be.

John Halsall, regional managing director for Network Rail’s Southern Region, said: “I’m an engineer and I love my job, it’s the most amazing career for girls and boys.  One of the things I love most is seeing the great ideas kids come up with when you open their minds to possibilities and pose them a real life problem to solve. This competition is a little taster of how much fun engineering can be, and I for one can’t wait to see the results.”

Dr Susan Scurlock, MBE, founder of Primary Engineer, said: “This exhibition at one of the most important travel hubs in the UK is testament to the commitment of commercial organisations, schools and universities, who are all doing their bit to help pupils tap into their inner engineer.

“Each year I am astounded by the designs by pupils, some as young as 3, as they identify problems to solve which are important to them and in turn inspire engineers to build their solutions. We started by asking engineers to inspire children and have found that children inspire engineers. Perfect!”

The competition, run by Primary Engineer, opens in September 2019, at the beginning of the academic year. The closing date for entries is Wednesday, 25 March, 2020.​

Facebook and Gatwick Airport are both national partners in the competition, with Gatwick hosting a three-week long exhibition from today which showcases 11 inspirational prototypes from previous competitions – including inventions designed by pupils as young as three and from all across the country.

The Gatwick Airport exhibition is a celebration of the designs which have been brought to life by universities throughout the five years the competition has been running and demonstrates Network Rail, Gatwick Airport, Facebook and Primary Engineer’s commitment to providing young people from all backgrounds with opportunities to acquire the skills they need for a rewarding career in engineering, science and technology.

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