Inspiring teachers handed challenge
TEACHERS have been told they are not doing enough to inspire the next generation of North East engineers.
Experts looking at placing the region at the forefront of a new low carbon revolution have called for business to take the lead in helping children realize the careers available to them.
Thousands of jobs are predicted to be created in the region as part of ongoing efforts to rebuild the economy around renewable energy and environmentally friendly cars.
Speaking at a low carbon car event Dr Colin Herron, manager of productivity and development at One North East, said that a new generation of engineers was needed and warned that schools were unlikely to help motivate children.
He said: "We have to create opportunities for the children in this country, we have to give them the relevant skills and really switch them on."
He added: "The kids are not the problem. The teachers are the problem.
"They do not understand modern engineering, they do not understand the green economy. The kids get it, but they are not being allowed to pursue the passion and their ideas." He called on companies such as Nissan, who already run successful events for children, to do even more to help.
Dr Herron last night said he was not launching an attack on teachers.
He added: "I’m not blaming them for that, the circumstances are to blame.
"I have trouble getting my head around the low carbon changes so how on earth teachers are going to understand it is beyond me.
"It is not their fault, they just don’t know what to teach on this subject. This is not a criticism of teachers at all. I feel sorry for them if anything."
Dr Herron called for a new focus over the next decade in which businesses would encourage schools to come to them with children "eager to learn". He said: "We need to show them that the things they get excited about, the X- Boxes and the iPods, these are from engineering. They can have life changing impacts.
"We have the chance to create the Swans and Armstrongs and Parsons of the next generation."
His comments came after the development agency announced a new electric vehicle trial for the North East.
Four Smart cars will be loaned to the region for six months from October.
Chris Pywell, head of strategic economic change, said up to 500 people could try out the cars.
"We are delighted that this prestigious trial will take place in the North East of England. It is fitting that it will be based in the UK’s first low carbon economic area for ultra low carbon vehicles."