The theme for DVD2018 is Innovation today and tomorrow: exploiting current capabilities more creatively and identifying novel solutions to enable Conceptual Force Land 2035.
With 2018 marking the ‘Year of Engineering’, DVD2018 is the ideal platform to recognise the Army’s commitment to encouraging more young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and related careers within the Army. DVD2018 will welcome a number of engineering undergraduates, who will have the unique opportunity to access the end-users of equipment, those who make decisions on acquisition and industry, all in one event.
Army Engineering Champion, Major General Mark Gaunt explains more.
As the Army Engineering Champion, what does the 2018 ‘Year of Engineering’ campaign mean to you?
As the Army Engineering Champion, my role is to help the Army build and retain a coherent body of qualified, experienced and motivated engineers. The Year of Engineering 2018 is a cross-Government initiative which recognises the national skills shortage related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and is designed both to celebrate the profession and to make it more attractive as a career option for young people. To me, the Year of Engineering is about opening peoples’ eyes to the possibilities that the profession offers. This is about young men and women taking a serious look at a path that they may have not previously considered, but which will allow them to fulfil their potential and play a part in shaping the future of the world in which we live.
Why is it important that the Army supports the campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers?
The national shortage of engineers places increased risk on Defence’s future capability and it is no secret that the Army is keen to increase the quality of its engineering personnel in some specific trades. Many young people misunderstand careers in engineering and so discount them at an early age. However, when presented with the reality, and particularly when people begin to understand the variety, creativity and positive contribution engineering makes to people’s lives, they change their views. It is important therefore that the Army plays a full part in the campaign. To be clear, our participation is not about the Army trying to recruit, although naturally I believe that the British Army offers world-leading training to develop capable and skilled professionals. However, if, by taking part, we encourage young people to follow engineering careers with industry, or in the civil service, then the Army will benefit almost as much as if they had put on our uniform.
How does ‘Year of Engineering’ and STEM development tie in with the themes for this years’ DVD event?
This year’s DVD theme is all about innovation. How can the Army be more creative with what we currently have and the means by which we support it? What new and emerging technologies are out there that the Army should be looking to exploit? Our discussions at the show therefore need to be about good ideas, problem solving, thinking differently, being creative and challenging norms, both today and in the future. This approach to innovation is part and parcel of engineering, which the campaign is seeking to highlight. It is my hope that exhibitors and visitors alike will seize the opportunity to talk to each other about how engineering careers are future-facing, offering young people variety, creativity and excitement, and to forge some new ideas about how we can continue STEM development in 2019.
How will DVD2018 help to showcase ‘Year of Engineering’?
With more than 150 UK and international companies represented, absolutely cutting-edge technology on display and the opportunity to see some remarkable pieces of equipment in action, I can think of no better showcase for the Year of Engineering than DVD2018. The Army will have a large number of uniformed personnel present, in support of exhibits and as visitors, who can talk about their own careers and the ways that engineering has shaped their prospects. And finally, we are hoping to have some students with us throughout the event who have been involved in our University Technical College Craftsman Cup Challenge this year. The winning entries and their inventors will be present and are inspiring examples of what young people can bring to engineering, given the right encouragement and opportunities.
What can potential ‘Engineers of the Future’ who attend DVD2018 expect to gain from the event?
DVD2018 is a fabulous opportunity to find out about engineering in the Defence sector. Potential ‘Engineers of the Future’ will be able to meet military and civilian engineers and to ask them why they entered the field and what keeps them interested in it. There will be the chance to interact with the latest innovations, including drones, green technology and simulators, and to gain insights into where companies think technology is heading next. And of course, with many of the sector’s leading employers being present, there is the prospect of potential engineers talking about apprenticeship or job opportunities, or even to pitch their own inventions.
What advantages are there to Army, DE&S and Industry in ‘Engineers of the Future’ attending DVD2018?
The Army, DE&S and Industry all face similar challenges to attract, recruit and retain young engineers – hence why we have all been involved in the Year of Engineering campaign. At the most basic level, DVD2018 allows us to cut straight through the myths and, by talking direct to those ‘Engineers of the Future’ attending the event, for us to offer direct and inspiring experiences of engineering. But the advantages are likely to more refined than this. The young people that the Army has engaged with over the course of the campaign this year have been truly remarkable, with some fantastic ideas ready to be developed. I would be amazed if we did not find some of our future engineering colleagues amongst these visitors to DVD2018.
What does the next generation of Army Engineers look like?
Engineers in the British Army are highly respected and are a critical component in delivering combat capability for the protection of the nation. In this sense, I do not think that the next generation of Army Engineers will appear any different. However, there is a perception that engineering in the round is the preserve of middle-aged white men and it is true that women and people from ethnic minorities are under-represented today. The Army recognises the strength that diversity adds to organisations and you will have seen that our ‘This is Belonging’ recruiting campaign highlights this belief. Engineering is truly an opportunity for all and my hope is that the next generation of Army Engineers will be fully representative of British society.
How will the next generation of Army Engineers support the future ambitions of ‘Innovation’ & ‘Transformation’?
British Army engineers are deployed across the globe in exciting and challenging environments right now and this will inevitably continue over the years ahead. At the same time, and in particular over the next 10 years, the Army is transforming its equipment, the way we operate and the types of mission that we support. These changes will demand professional engineers at their heart, to generate the novel ideas, to drive through the technological transformation and to maintain our capability in the most trying of circumstances. I am confident that today’s young people are up for this challenge. There has never been a better time to join the engineering industry, or to become part of our next generation of Army Engineers.
For those involved in Land Equipment for Army Headquarters, DE&S and Front Line Commands DVD2018 provides an ideal opportunity to identify innovation, develop ideas and generate a greater understanding of technologies, capabilities and requirements. To register as a visitor please visit www.theevent.co.uk/Visitor/Register.
Providers of equipment and support for the UK’s Land Forces who would like to exhibit at DVD2018, are encouraged to register their interest at www.theevent.co.uk/Exhibitor.
For all media enquiries and to register as press please visit www.theevent.co.uk/Press-media.