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Youngest engineer to beat 161 year-old record
Article Type: University and research news From: Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology: An International Journal, Volume 80, Issue 3.
Britain's youngest ever engineer to be awarded a Fellow from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is calling upon thousands of young people to join the profession and crack the skills shortage.
Richard Sibbick, 31, from Cardiff, has broken a 161-year record to become the youngest mechanical engineer to become a Fellow, the highest level of professional recognition from the IMechE.
He said: “This is a real honour, but I am also extremely concerned about the lack of young people in the UK choosing to become engineers, during a time when we need them most.”
“The average age of professional engineers is 58. The UK engineering industry is already struggling with a skills shortage and in ten years time when many engineers enter retirement, the problem is only going to get worse.”
Mr Sibbick, a Trustee Board Member for IMechE, called upon every bright, innovative student to become an engineer and help solve the world's energy, environment and transport challenges. A recent study has highlighted that 70 per cent of young people aged between 16 and 19 do not know even know what engineering is.
“If we want to build nuclear power stations, drive hydrogen cars or solve climate change then we need young people to study maths, physics and science so they can join this profession.”
Recent figures show Britain produces only 24,000 engineering graduates a year compared with 300,000 in China and 450,000 in India.
Mr Sibbick, a Supply Chain Leader at Dow Corning Active Protection System, said it had taken him about six months to complete the process to become a Fellow, which includes holding a senior position, demonstrating leadership and specialist knowledge in engineering.
Jennifer Larwood, IMechE Membership and Subscription Manager, said: “To become a Fellow of the IMechE is a great achievement in its own right to do so demonstrates leadership qualities, responsibility and influence within the engineering profession. Richard has proven age is no barrier if you want to achieve this.”