5 reasons to connect and collaborate
When you want to really make an impact, it’s natural to work with your team and consult with colleagues across the organisation to get create something that really packs a punch. In this blog Cat Sturman, Senior Code Manager at EngineeringUK, outlines why she thinks extending your network and collaborating with other organisations can help take your engineering outreach to the next level.
1. You get to work with experts
If you know what your strengths are, you should also know the gaps, which means you have a sense of the skills and expertise you are looking for. For example, some organisations may be more experienced in designing curriculum-linked outreach activities or the engineering skills that are needed for the future, whereas others may be more focused on targeting particular groups or creating actively inclusive activities.
There is a whole host of organisations that fund, design and deliver engineering outreach activities, and this means there are countless opportunities to work together and draw on collective expertise.
Working collaboratively means you can play to your strengths, focusing on what your organisation does well and leveraging the experience of your partners. It’s win win.
2. There’s power in numbers
When delivering an engineering outreach programme, or even setting up a new programme, it’s really important to understand what others are already doing so you can see what’s already happening out there. This means you can avoid duplication of effort and see where you may be able to add value.
Collaborating with others means you can work together with other organisations (quite similar or very different to yours) to deliver something you may not have been able to do on your own. Collaboration can also mean partnering with a much larger organisation that needs your skillset or working with a company or educational organisation with direct experience of an area you’re new to.
3. You don’t have to learn from your mistakes
OK, that’s not quite right! You should always try to take learnings when things don’t have the impact you hoped, but when you’re working collaboratively you also draw on the experience and expertise of your partners. You each bring knowledge about different aspects of your work and sharing that means you improve your collective ability to make an impact
If you’re looking to expand your programme to a new region, or age group, or are looking to implement new ideas, then it’s hugely beneficial to speak to others who are already working in this space. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be open and bold enough to share what hasn’t worked brilliantly as well as where you’ve smashed it!
4. Achieve greater reach and impact
When organisations come together to work on a project or programme, it gives each one the chance to reach more people (in this case more possible future engineers) and to generate more positive outcomes.
Collaborating allows us to share resources, this is particularly great when you have a small team or budget but these efficiency savings also apply in other circumstances. These could be human resources, financial, venues or kit for activities but that sharing gives the opportunity to spend more time on impactful delivery.
Working with other organisations means you can focus on identifying and targeting cold spots. This could mean that instead of working with schools who already do some engineering engagement you’re able to develop relationships with those that don’t, reaching more young people as a result.
5. You don’t face challenges alone
You may have a specific challenge you’re grappling with when trying to engage with young people in your programmes and getting a range of perspectives and experience when you work it through can really help.
You may not quite have all the tools and expertise you need in house but offering what you do have as part of a partnership means everyone involved can benefit from the hive brain.
Listening and sharing, working with like-minded, and differing, organisations and building partnerships can truly make a difference in finding creative solutions to challenges.
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If you deliver, design or fund engineering engagement activities for young people and want to work with other organisations committed to working together to inspire a diverse engineering workforce, The Tomorrow’s Engineers Code is for you. It’s new virtual matching service, Code Connect, could help you find and connect with organisations open to collaboration in just a few simple steps.