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

Women in Engineering

word cloud about women in engineeringEarlier this year we reported on the lack of Women in Engineering. This is due, in some part, to the perceptions of what a career in engineering involves.

Studies have shown that many female students believe engineering is all about fixing cars, getting their hands dirty and coming home with black faces and dirty nails. As a result, they steer clear.

It has caused widespread concern. So much so, that earlier this year, business secretary Vince Cable suggested the shortage of engineers, and in particular a shortage of women in engineering, provided a serious threat to recovery.

At that stage – and figures are understood to have changed very little – only 8 per cent of British engineers were women. That compares unfavourably with 15 per cent in Germany, 25 per cent in Sweden and 30 per cent in Latvia. Continue reading

The future of engineering

engineering word cloudAttracting engineers into the industry has been a topic of conversation for many engineering employers in recent years. Many will tell you that engineers are hard to come by and that schools and colleges are doing precious little to help the situation. Sir James Dyson has even gone on record to express his concerns.

Here at PRV Engineering we have seen at first hand how apprentice engineers and young qualified engineers are hard to come by. As managing director Simon Jones said, “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get youngsters interested in engineering and as a result, we find it increasingly hard to recruit the right kind of person.” Continue reading

What does the word engineering mean?

engineering word cloudWhat does the word engineering mean and what does an engineer do?

If you ask most youngsters these days, they will almost certainly paint the picture of a brown collar worker with dirty hands and overalls. The same goes for many adults too. Therein lies the problem for most engineering company managers who find it increasingly frustrating when it comes to recruitment.

As PRV Engineering managing director Simon Jones said recently; “The problem is this. Kids don’t do metalwork and woodwork in school because of health and safety issues. As a result, they not only don’t know anything about our industry, but they don’t have any desire to pursue a career in engineering. That is why we find it so difficult when it comes to recruitment.” Continue reading

Engineering gets a much needed boost

image of female engineering studentAlthough the industry has suffered widespread criticism, there has been a general improvement in public attitude towards engineering.

Produced in March, the Public Attitudes report found that despite a lack of quality engineers, people now hold scientists and engineers in high regard. Ninety per cent not only believe engineers make a valuable contribution to society but view them as creative, interesting and open-minded people.

According to an article in The Engineer, this is borne out by Engineering UK’s annual Engineers and Engineering Brand Monitor, which found that for all age-groups ‘interesting’ has triumphed over previous descriptions for engineering, such as ‘dirty’ or ‘messy’ and even the more ambiguous term ‘challenging’. Continue reading

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