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Insights This is Engineering Day: Are engineers really who you think they are?

6 November 2019
image with the text saying this is engineering


This is Engineering is a multi-year campaign led by the Royal Academy of Engineering to bring engineering to life for young people as well as give more people the opportunity to pursue a career that is future-shaping, well-paid and in-demand.

Many of us will know first-hand that engineering is an exciting, varied and rewarding career. And yet the UK has a shortage of young people applying for engineering courses and engineering jobs. One of the prime reasons for this is that many people hold outdated views of what engineering is and what engineers do. Think back to when you decided to become an engineer or joined our company – did your perceptions match up with the reality of what engineering is all about?

This is Engineering seeks to present a positive image of engineering by challenging misconceptions about what being an engineer is all about. As part of the campaign, 6 November has been declared ‘This is Engineering Day’ as a way of publicly celebrate more diverse and representative images of engineers online and offline.

To support the campaign, we’ve identified, with the help of our Atkineers some common myths about engineering and asked some of our engineers to dispel them by sharing their experiences:

​'All engineers are the same and they can fix everything from TV sets to fighting jets' dispelled by Digital Lead (Cities & Development) Will Squires:

'Engineers are not able of creative thinking' dispelled by Graduate Structural Engineer Daniel Ingman:

'Engineering is all about hard hats and dirt and is not for women' dispelled by Structural Engineer Preeti Mistry:​ 

'You have to be a maths genius to be an engineer' dispelled by Engineering Geologist Holly Fisher.

image of Holly on a farm

'Engineering Geologists study the ground for construction projects. We determine the strength of the ground for foundation or earthwork design, and identify and mitigate any possible hazards associated with the ground; soft soil, faulting, groundwater, sinkholes, landslides, mining, weak rock etc. all have the potential to cause problems for construction. 

I hated maths. I loved geography and geology, so I studied it at university. There, I discovered that engineering also involves understanding the intricacies of the ground, the shape of the land and how it got that way, groundwater, history and human interactions with our environment.​'

What do YOU think are the most common misconceptions about engineering? Is there anything you would add to our list? You can support the This is Engineering campaign and ‘This is Engineering Day’ by sharing your own inspiring comments or images of engineers and engineering with the public via your personal social media channels, or by re-posting messages from the Atkins Instagram accounts or the official campaign accounts on Twitter (@ThisIsEng) and Instagram (@ThisIsEngineering). Don’t forget to use the #ThisIsEngineering and #InsideAtkins hashtag to help increase your reach!