How do we solve the skills gap in the UK?

skills gap graphicA recent survey revealed that Finance Directors are more worried about the skills shortage in the UK than they are about the UK remaining in Europe. In fact, it ranked second only to concerns regarding the oil price. A worrying statement!

We ourselves have written previously about the skills shortage in engineering indicating that the practical skills needed are not being taught early enough. The misheld perception that engineering jobs are ‘dirty’ and carried out in oil covered overalls or while wearing hard hats on a building site is a perception we need to change. Schools need to open the eyes of their students to the possibilities of engineering careers out there. We also need to ensure that the practical skills that come with these jobs are taught and practiced throughout any period of education. There is little point in learning the theory of how to do something for 3 or 4 years and then not being able to apply that practically when looking for employment.

It seems, that these concerns do not only relate to engineering, but to employment as a whole in the UK. A report by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants recently stated that UK school leavers are the worst in Europe for essential skills. Whether they are leaving school at 18 or graduating later, employers state that students are lacking the skills they are looking for. It seems the most basic skills such as communication and teamwork are a struggle for many and is given as a major factor when deciding whether to employ a young person. Continue reading

Addressing The Shortfall – UK Engineering Expertise

engineering word cloudIt’s no secret how much engineering is worth to the UK economy. Estimates are that engineering makes up almost a quarter of UK turnover. As a percentage of UK GDP engineering grew steadily through the global financial crisis. It is clear that the UK is still an engineering powerhouse with world renowned expertise, projects and businesses.

  • UK has 17% of the Global Share of Aerospace revenue
  • £30.7 billion in automotive exports
  • UK Engineering sector employs 5.5 million people
  • Bioscience and Renewable Energy sectors on the cutting edge

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Tunnelling feats of engineering

tunnelling machineAs one marathon amount of tunnelling is just completing another is about to begin.

The 26 miles of crossrail tunnelling, linking rail services from Reading and Heathrow in the West to Shenfield and Abbey wood in the East finished in June after 3 years of constant tunnelling. 8 giant tunnelling machines were used constantly to make the network of new rail tunnels, and whilst there are still stations and platforms to construct it is hoped the civil engineering work will be complete in 2017 with the new rail services starting from 2018.

The new services will allow an extra 24 trains an hour to run during peak services and will increase rail capacity by 10% carrying 72,000 passengers per hour through the new tunnels. 1.5 million more people will be able travel to within 45 minutes of central London.

However, as one feat of tunnelling engineering ends another is about to begin. The Thames Tideway Project preliminary construction works begin in 2016, with the proposed 4 years of tunnelling beginning in 2017. Continue reading

Autonomous ships – could they help marine freight transport?

rolls royce autonomous ships conceptSelf driving cars, whilst once a novel and entertaining idea have now become a regular news feature. The design and rigorous testing they are going through is all in an effort to see road safety improved by eliminating driving error.

In fact a recent report in manufacturing.net stated that in the 6 years and 1.9 million miles of testing by Google there have only been 14 accidents involving their self driving cars. Google say that none of the accidents were caused by their self driving cars. In 11 of the 14 accidents, the self driving car was rear ended, by distracted drivers.

So, could autonomous applications be applied to ships to improve efficiencies and also the level of CO2 emissions, which are twice that of the aviation industry? Could we see autonomous ships at sea?  Rolls Royce think so. Continue reading

University of Bristol partners with Airbus

Airbus landingAirbus signed a partnership agreement with the University of Bristol last week, formalising their commitment to build on training, education and diversity. The agreement was signed at the International Air Show in Paris last week.

Talking about the partnership Thierry Baril, Chief Human Resources Officer of Airbus Group, said: “These partnership agreements underline our commitment to work hand-in-hand with academics and engineering education leaders to develop and secure the competences that the aerospace industry will need in the future.” Continue reading