Since our initial response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we have seen further lives impacted and industries being irreversibly impacted. The charity sector is no exception, with a reported 77% of charities surveyed disclosing that COVID-19 is already impacting their finances. We are extremely grateful for all that continue to support the movement during this unprecedented time.

The engineering sector has shown resilience and adaptability as both companies and individuals adjust to working life under the new circumstances with some even lending a hand to actively fight the virus.

As we look ahead to the rest of 2021, it is crucial for us to provide updated guidance, in particular for our university community as they prepare for a new academic year.

As an organisation, we will continue to assess and review the situation and our processes; updating the guidance below inline with governmental guidelines and organisational policy. Please note the date the article was last updated to ensure you are up to date with our most recent guidance.

Design Challenges: The Engineering for People Design Challenge and Efficiency for Access Design Challenge briefs are currently being created remotely as we work with our partner organisations across the globe, to create content for the challenges using digital solutions and remote collaboration. As in previous years,  once launched, the content for these challenges will be made available online for universities who have registered with the Design Challenges. Our team continues to provide support remotely. If you have any questions or concerns please do get in touch with our team by emailing [email protected].

Our Efficiency for Access Design Challenge and its Grand Finals will be fully virtual again this year, due to the international participation in this programme.

The Grand Finals for the Engineering for People Design Challenge will also be hosted virtually for 2021, to enable greater participation and accessibility to students, academics and attendees from our partner organisations throughout the UK and Ireland. 

Our launch lectures and accompanying workshops have been adapted to be delivered virtually to facilitate the approaches of the multiple universities across the country. Engineers Without Borders UK will follow the lead of the academic institutions in this instance and continue conversations with them in order to adapt our delivery style to suit the approach of the University from September 2021.   

Member events and activities: We are asking our members, including our affiliated chapters, to continue to host all their activities and meetings online where possible, or in line with current guidance from the UK and devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

Workshops in schools: We are asking our outreach ambassadors to host all activities online, or in line with current guidance from the UK and devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. If you are permitted by the relevant guidance from the UK and devolved governments to deliver a workshop in person, please also follow the guidance specific to your local area and the school hosting the workshop. The workshop resources are all online available for teachers, parents and carers to download.

If you are an Engineers Without Borders UK Chapter, we strongly encourage hosting an event or activity in a digital space as a first option. We have been pleased with how everyone has embraced reimagining collaborations over the last twelve months; adapting to new ways to host activities.

If you are permitted by the relevant guidance from the UK and devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to host anything other than a digital event, we remind you that you have to follow:

  • The current guidance and legislation from the relevant UK or devolved governments in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
  • Guidance and legislation that is specific to your local area at the time
  • The current guidance of your organisation or university

Further essential considerations

Is the activity permitted or not, according to relevant guidance?

  • What is the current guidance and legislation from the UK or relevant devolved government (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales)? Is this activity permitted?
  • What is the current guidance from my University and /or employer? Is this activity permitted?

If the activity is permitted, what are the additional things you need to consider in risk management to understand if the benefits outweigh the potential risks?

  • Can this be done virtually?
  • If not, why? What are the benefits to being in-person?
  • How does this balance against the risk?
  • Could this event be held safely outdoors (with less than 30 attendees in England and Wales)?
  • How urgent is this? Can it be postponed to a later date?
  • Is this the desired method suitable for all parties involved?
  • Have you completed and approved a risk assessment for this activity with the relevant people?
  • How might changes to the current situation impact your event, given that this is a fast moving and fluid pandemic?
  • Were we invited to attend by another person/ group?
  • What guidance or measures do they have in place?
  • How would news of this reflect on us as an organisation or Chapter?

If you’re concerned about an event, or were planning an Engineers Without Borders UK event and you’d like help with moving it online, please get in touch by emailing us at [email protected].

Our office: Engineers Without Borders UK have taken the necessary, practical steps to ensure that our office is COVID-19 secure and we continue to follow UK Government guidance regarding office working. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept or invite visitors into our office premises until further notice. At this time, we are also unable to accept invitations to visit our partners or any other organisations, but we are happy to continue to arrange meetings with you online. We are still here to support you and you can still contact us on the phone or via email. Our main contact details can be found here, we look forward to hearing from you.