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If you were an engineer, what would you do?

Meet fascinating engineering professionals in person and online and design the future.

If you were an engineer, what would you do?

Could your students design something to make the world a better place?

Each year, the ‘If you were an engineer, what would you do?’ competition has tens of thousands of pupils aged from 3 to 19 years old from schools across the UK who come up with ideas for engineering inventions to change the world submitting a drawn design and accompanying letter.

All entries receive a graded certificate from engineering professionals and the best designs are exhibited across the country with winners receiving awards.

Best of all, designs are selected from the winning and shortlisted entries and engineering ‘proto teams’ from universities make them!


Minimum of 1 participant, maximum of 5,000 participants! Last year we had over 49,000 students from around the UK take part.


If you were an engineer, what would you do opens to schools across the UK in September each year. The deadline for entries is the end of March.

From September through to March schools can join the regular online interviews with engineering professionals and are linked with engineering professionals to interview in person in the school. Each session is different for how many students participate - online interviews can range from 100 students up to 2,000. In school interviews can again range from a small group to a whole school.

Learning outcomes

  • Improve engagement, interest or enjoyment in STEM subjects

  • Learning what the engineering workplace is like

  • Develop engineering employability skills

  • Improve awareness and aspirations for STEM-related study and careers

  • Challenge stereotypes by showing the diversity of disciplines, people and skills involved in engineering

Gatsby benchmarks

The Gatsby benchmarks are a framework for good careers guidance for schools across all of England and in some areas across the rest of the UK. This experience helps your school to reach the following benchmarks:

  • A stable careers programme
  • Learning from career and labour market information
  • Addressing the needs of each pupil
  • Linking curriculum learning to careers
  • Encounters with employers and employees
  • Experiences of workplaces
  • Encounters with further and higher education
  • Personal guidance

Subjects and topics

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing
    • Design and Technology
    • Engineering
    • Maths
    • Physics
    • Agriculture and food
    • Biotechnology
    • Chemical engineering
    • Design, art and fashion
    • Electronics, robotics and programming
    • Energy and environment
    • Entertainment, sound and lighting
    • Humanitarian aid
    • Materials, products and manufacturing
    • Medicine and healthcare
    • Space and aerospace engineering
    • Sport and fitness
    • Structures, construction and civil engineering
    • Mechanical engineering, systems and processes
    • Transport

Essential skills

The essential skills every young person needs to succeed in education and their future career. Find out more at the Skills Builder Partnership. This experience builds the following skills:

  • Aiming high - the ability to set clear, tangible goals and devise a robust route to achieving them.

  • Creativity - the use of imagination and the generation of new ideas.

  • Leadership - supporting, encouraging and motivating others to achieve a shared goal.

  • Listening - the ability to listen and understand information.

  • Problem solving - the ability to find a solution to a complex situation or challenge.

  • Staying positive - the ability to use tactics to overcome setbacks and achieve goals.

What the teachers say

We would love to read all about your time with this experience!

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