19 November 2018

Outreach: why should we bother?

Dr Charis Bronze is the Widening Participation Officer for the Faculty of Engineering. In her guest article for MechEng News, she tells us more about outreach activities across the Faculty and why we should definitely bother.

Two school students during an Outreach visit

Research is exciting. Developing new ideas that have never been thought of before and applying them to the engineeringproblems of the world.

To create groundbreaking research is to work with other, like-minded people to find brilliant solutions.

The sharing of knowledge is the creation of something great, so why not share it?


The Faculty of Engineering at Sheffield is dedicated to giving students the opportunity to make informed decisions about their futures. The events we organise are tailored to the audience’s age and level of understanding and we’re always looking for new and exciting areas to showcase.

Dr Charis Bronze

Widening Participation Officer


When I was studying mechanical engineering I was often asked “Oh, you study engineering? Could you look at my car? It’s making a funny noise.”

Despite often laughing this off, I think it highlights some cultural changes that are needed in, not only this country but also across most of the world too.

As part of my role as the Widening Participation Officer for the Faculty of Engineering, I often organise and attend events around the country to talk about the options of STEM subjects in Higher Education.

Many of the questions I’m asked usually revolve around what engineering is and what the difference is between different types.

I’ve found that engineering is often misunderstood. When I was looking into my options at the age of 17 I found the whole process incredibly overwhelming.

I stumbled across engineering quite late in my studies with the choice to study mechanical an even more last minute decision.

It seems as though I’m not alone. The charity EngineeringUK recently developed an interesting study on the state of engineering in the UK.


By engaging in outreach we’re giving students the power to make more informed choices about their lives.

Dr Charis Bronze


It was suggested that only 27% of 11-14 year olds know what engineers do (Recommendation by EngineeringUK - To raise understanding and awareness of engineering (2018)

With the UK facing a large skills gap in the engineering sector - an annual shortfall of up to 59,000 engineering graduates and technicians to fill core engineering roles - it’s hugely important that we help to educate the younger generation.

The Faculty of Engineering at Sheffield is dedicated to giving students the opportunity to make informed decisions about their futures. The events we organise are tailored to the audience’s age and level of understanding and we’re always looking for new and exciting areas to showcase.

So, why should we bother with outreach?

By engaging in outreach we’re giving students the power to make more informed choices about their lives. This could welcome them into the world of engineering, a world they may never have known existed before.

And those excited students could change our lives for the better.


Contact us

We’d love to showcase different areas of Mechanical Engineering. Let’s inspire the next generation of engineers together.

If you would like to get involved in any Faculty outreach and recruitment activities, please contact Charis via c.bronze@sheffield.ac.uk.

You can also contact Dr Julia Carrell as the Widening Participation Co-ordinator for the Department of Mechanical Engineering via j.carrell@sheffield.ac.uk.

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