Stereotypes about engineering make school leavers shun the profession, according to a new report.
Engineering Our Future, published by the National Grid, finds that young people are misinformed about careers in this area.
The chief executive of STEMNET - the body which campaigns for more people to enter science, technology, engineering and maths - bemoaned continuing confusion about the role of the engineer. "There are already many fantastic role models working in engineering and a number of different programmes operating which can open pupils' eyes to the excitement that a career in this area can offer," said Yvonne Baker.
She highlighted her own organisation's STEM Ambassadors programme, a network of 18,000 people working in science, technology, engineering and maths who bring the subjects to life. At least 45 per cent are engineers.
The report, based on interviews with more than 1,500 young people aged 14 to 19, states that engineering is "undervalued and undermined by outdated stereotypes".