The civil engineers behind some of the capital’s most iconic infrastructure projects have put on their dancing shoes, to show the public – young people in particular – how happy they are to be engineers and the diverse and exciting careers on offer through choosing maths and physics at school.
They are filmed dancing to the catchy hit single “Happy” by American singer Pharrell Williams, which has reached number one in more than a dozen countries and caught the imagination of billions.
The song has also spawned a huge number of internet covers – from actress Gwyneth Paltrow who performed her version for the 100th episode of TV show Glee, through to the BBC1 Breakfast team. It is hoped this special “Engineering Happiness” tribute, produced by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) London, in association with Bechtel, will go viral and show engineers in a new light to all.
London infrastructure projects and teams featured in the film include Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Thames Barrier, London Underground, Walton Bridge, Kings Cross Station and the Hammersmith Flyover.
Some well-known civil engineers and politicians are also spotted happy and dancing in the film including Sir John Armitt, who led the delivery of the London 2012 Olympic Games venues and infrastructure, ICE’s Director General, Nick Baveystock and Cllr Victoria Borwick AM, Deputy Mayor of London. Members of the public and students also feature.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, commented: “I welcome ICE’s imaginative approach to celebrate and promote the huge role engineers play in London and I hope it will encourage more young people to opt for this rewarding career. Engineering ingenuity is at the heart of London’s prosperity and success. Mega-infrastructure projects such as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel are set to ensure London remains a world leading city and can cope with a population boom over the next decade.”
ICE London Director, Miranda Housden, added: “We know many young boys and girls are gifted with the attributes, skills and interests that sit at the heart of engineering – a fascination with the latest technology, a need to design, create and build things, and an inquisitiveness about how things work and why. Many of these are also naturally adept at maths and physics.
“Yet only half of 11-14 year olds would consider a career in engineering, and less than one in ten plans to be an engineer once they finish their education. This is because they don’t know enough about the profession and the exciting and rewarding careers that are in their grasp, and also carry the perception that engineering is uncreative and boring.
“We want to bust this myth, showcasing through the communication networks young people use and the music they listen to, some of the awe inspiring projects civil engineers are delivering and who our people really are – creative, smart, diverse teams whose work makes a difference to our lives every single day whether protecting us from flooding, getting us to work, ensuring we have clean water or designing and building magnificent sporting venues.
“What better way to do this than through a tribute to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” hit. We encourage everyone to watch and share our “Engineering Happiness” film and join us in inspiring the next generation of engineers.”