Ideas and invention. This is what drives our economy forward. And they are nurtured by Design
and Technology. We desperately need engineers to ask ‘what’s next?’ We need them to
challenge the status quo and create new technology. But it all starts in our schools and we forget
this at our peril.
George Osborne wants our economy to be based upon making things. To achieve this, our
society needs to believe that technology creates the foundation for a prosperous future. We live in
a world which is constantly changing. Technological advancement is on the tip of every industry.
Our school curriculum must not be afraid to move forward with it.
Engineers do not suddenly appear at university. They have a mindset which is fostered throughout
their education. That is why D&T is essential at all stages of the curriculum. We should encourage
children in the early years to pull objects apart. Find out how things work. And pose that most
inquisitive and brilliant of questions – ‘why?’.
Equally, older children need the opportunity to apply the science and maths they’re taught. They
need to see its relevance. To understand how it relates to business and their future career. The
can-do, hands-on attitude that D&T fosters gives students the skills to handle life’s difficult
situations. To succeed. To shape the world around them.
With the exception of doctors, engineering graduates are the most highly paid. And rightly so. It
reflects their importance. But how many students know this when they study D&T? The interest and
rewards of a career in design engineering need to be better communicated. To students and their
parents. We need to sell our ‘product’.
The responsibility for our innovators of the future falls on the shoulders of D&T teachers. Through
working with my foundation, I have come into contact with many brilliant Design and Technology
teachers. Those who inspire. Those who influence the direction of this relatively new subject.
We know our subject is under threat. We face a challenge from the current national curriculum
review. But it is far from insurmountable. As designers and engineers we are trained to solve
problems. We must apply this to the current education climate. We must fight apathy with
We tell students that in every challenge there is an opportunity. Well, we need to rise to this
opportunity. We know the innate value of D&T. How it creates problem solvers. People who don’t
shy away from failure but use it to succeed. I will continue to fight for this subject and urge others
to do so. Now is the time to start shouting about it. And to tell Michael Gove that D&T is not an
optional fringe subject. It’s inspirational and it’s essential.