Canadian Consulting Engineer

Young Canadians urged to join a new “Generation”

December 1, 2002
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Ottawa, October 3, 2002 -- A new generation was launched this morning. Generation-E: A New Brand of Engineer is a unique multi-media campaign encouraging young Canadians to consider engineering as a c...

Ottawa, October 3, 2002 — A new generation was launched this morning. Generation-E: A New Brand of Engineer is a unique multi-media campaign encouraging young Canadians to consider engineering as a career.

“Canada is the third largest exporter of engineering talent in the world,” said Claude Paul Boivin, President of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, lead organization on the initiative. “Yet it’s our sense that at home, many creative young people aren’t looking at engineering as a career because they might not consider it interesting or exciting.”

Attracting young people to engineering is key. The Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada had noted that fewer engineers were choosing to enter the consulting engineering business. At the same time, the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers was concerned about the results of federal government research showing that by 2011, Canada will be facing a shortage of skilled workers in all fields. The engineering profession could help meet the objectives of the Skills Agenda — created to address workforce issues — by attracting talented students to careers in engineering.

In addition, it was felt that many students were not considering engineering as a career because they thought it focussed solely on math and science, when instead, the best engineers are well-rounded individuals with diverse skill sets.

“The Government of Canada is determined to include all of Canada’s young people in the opportunities of the knowledge-based economy,” said the Honourable Jane Stewart, Minister of Human Resources Development Canada. “Our priority is to help ensure that Canadian youth are able to fully develop their skills and talents. They are the workers of the future. Our economy and society will depend on their success.”

The result of two years of effort on the part of engineers, teachers, students, guidance counsellors, engineers and career professionals, the core of Generation-E is teaching and guidance material for Grades 9 to 12, and an interactive website for students.

The campaign encourages students to understand the link between items they see around them every day and the talent of Canadian engineers, and to then consider becoming an engineer themselves. Hockey helmets, pacemakers, walkie-talkies and wind turbines are just four examples of Canadian engineering ingenuity.

That ingenuity is represented in the Generation-E campaign by “Jenni,” a female character created to anchor the student portion of the program. Strong, independent and smart, she is meant to embody the new brand of engineer and will appear on the students’ interactive website, and on the large classroom poster that outlines hands-on science projects — projects that challenge students to work in teams and think creatively, much like professional engineers.

“In developing the teacher’s materials we knew that we had to create something that linked engineering to science, and specifically to teachers’ curriculum objectives,” said Heather Mace, a science teacher in the Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa. “We’ve done that by linking the science projects to the specific learning objectives of every province and territory — a level of detail teachers don’t often find in their resources.”


The Generation-E program consists of three main components:

A teacher’s kit featuring four hands-on projects linking science and engineering, and meeting the curriculum objectives in each province and territory. The kit also contains tracking sheets so that students can record their work much as engineers do.

A guidance counsellor kit to help them give students information about the variety and nature of engineering careers.

An Internet site, featuring on-line training for teachers and guidance counsellors, but also with a section just for students that has a comprehensive range of interactive tools and resources about the fascinating world of engineering.

Support from MuchMusic/Musique Plus

To mark the launching of this major campaign, the Internet site, in conjunction with MuchMusic/Musique Plus, is running a nation-wide promotion, with $40,000 of computer equipment in prizes. Young people can enter by visiting the Generation-E Internet site today.

Development of Generation-E has been led by the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada through a grant from Human Resources Development Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy. A full list of Steering Committee members is available at


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