Energy solutions provider General Electric (GE) is investing more than $3.5 million in Staffordshire over the next five years – to get more young people into engineering.

The American-owned company has chosen the county as one of four locations to launch its Next Engineers programme which aims to inspire more than 3,500 local students – aged between 13 and 18 – into a career in the industry.

GE has launched programme through its charity, the GE Foundation, and will partner with HR tech company MyKindaFuture to implement the scheme across the UK.

It will provide youngsters with first-hand experiences of engineering and award people with financial support to pursue further education in the sector.

The multi-million dollar investment in Staffordshire – which is equivalent to £2.5 million – is part of a wider, $100 million commitment by GE to launch Next Engineers, and reach 85,000 students across 25 global locations in the next 10 years.

Kevin O'Neill, President & CEO of GE UK, said: "Our growing global economy will require more engineers to solve society’s most pressing challenges – from clean energy to quality healthcare and more sustainable flight.

"Next Engineers will provide a platform for Staffordshire's young people from different backgrounds to bring their unique perspectives to engineering and help address these important issues, enthusing and introducing them to the hands-on learning experiences they will need to pursue engineering careers."

With 125 years experience in the UK and Ireland, GE employs around 9,000 employees across the region.

It has 350 engineers based at three Stafford sites which design, develop and service products to support the global energy transition and climate change.

Will Akerman, CEO and founder at MyKindaFuture, said: "We are thrilled to be working alongside the GE Foundation and taking on the role of lead partner for its Next Engineers initiative in Stafford.

"It will transform the lives of so many in the area, and of course, across the world, and we can’t wait to be a part of it.

"With an initiative like this, the future of engineering looks incredibly bright."

Stafford MP Theo Clarke added: "Having an initiative like Next Engineers coming to our Staffordshire community is fantastic for young people locally.

"We were already fortunate to have a top global employer like GE in the region, but local students now have the opportunity to explore viable engineering careers that they had previously thought were unattainable.

"It really is an amazing opportunity for our young people."

The Next Engineers initiative offers three programmes to engage students on their paths to engineering.

The ‘engineering discovery’ programme is for Year 9 students, and helps to increase awareness of engineering as a viable career, while ‘engineering camp’ is aimed at Year 10 pupils who can take part in a week-long camp experience during school holidays.

The ‘engineering academy’ is a three-year programme for students aged between 15 and 18 and is devised to guide and encourage students to pursue a career in engineering.

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