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Semta's Chief Executive Ann Watson shares her views on the latest news, policy, issues and events of interest to the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector. 

 

Thursday, 15 June 2017 00:00

The Electronics Skills Challenge - What Can We Do?

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Guest Blog by Stew Edmondson, CEO of UK Electronics Skills Foundation

UKESF Logo - WebIn the UK, the Electronics sector is big, valuable and growing; however, the demand for employable graduates is currently outstripping supply. The UKESF operates collaboratively with major companies, leading universities and other organisations to tackle this skills shortage.

The State of Engineering 2017 report from Engineering UK once again highlighted that while engineering makes a significant contribution to our economy in the UK, there is a significant skills shortage. It is estimated that the shortfall of graduates in engineering is over 40,000. Put simply, based on the current estimates, the UK cannot meet the forecasted demand for skilled engineers and technicians in the future. We know that this is especially true in the Electronics sector.

Research from the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) found that 69% of employers in the Electronics sector say that a lack of available candidates is a problem when recruiting graduates. Over a number of years, simply too few students have been studying Electrical & Electronic Engineering. This in combination with an ageing workforce means that there are insufficient graduate engineers to drive forward innovation and progress.

People certainly ‘get’ the skills issue, recognise its importance and want solutions. The problem is that these solutions are almost generational in their nature. However, there are some practical things that every individual company could do now to move beyond good intentions and start take steps to help tackle the skills challenge facing the Electronics sector. For instance companies can work collaboratively with the UKESF by participating in their scholarship scheme.

The UKESF only accepts applications from the most capable undergraduates, studying for an IET-accredited MEng or BEng degree at one of our Partner Universities and on courses with a significant Electronics element. Applicants must have a permanent right to work in the UK upon graduation. They can be in any year of their degree except the final year, and will be on track to achieve a 2:1.

This year, 10 new companies join the UKESF Scholarship Scheme and there were also a record number of applications from students from the 18 leading universities that partner with the UKESF. As well as making a valuable contribution to their company, scholars are great ambassadors for promoting Electronics in schools and the UKESF provides them with the resources and wherewithal to go into schools and deliver talks and practical sessions about Electronics. Details of the scheme are here or contact stewart.edmondson@ukesf.org for more information.

Read 272 times Last modified on Thursday, 15 June 2017 12:34