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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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

Does automation reduce the need for engineering knowledge?

engineering drawingsThe automation of any manufacturing process always raises questions about whether we will lose the engineering knowledge associated with the tasks. But all indications are that automation will need to increase in manufacturing in the UK if we are to keep up with the rest of Europe.

We’ve seen 3D printing grow hugely in the last few years. To start with it was only simple 3D models that were printed. Now we are using 3D printers to produce aircraft parts, prosthetic limbs and there are even food printers now. There are also ongoing developments into printing using metals and other materials. Last week saw the designs for a socket set being emailed to the space station where it was then printed out and is currently in use. Continue reading

Engineering apprenticeships are the way forward

engineering pipes and cablesA lack of young engineers and in particular female engineers, has caused genuine concerns within the engineering industry in recent years.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has given the whole of British industry a significant boost by claiming that young people who choose apprenticeships and vocational training over academic studies will form the country’s ‘economic backbone’.

Speaking at the Skills Show at Birmingham’s NEC, Mr Clegg said; “We need to get beyond this rather fusty, old-fashioned view that the only good thing for a young person to do after school or a college education is to take an academic qualification. Continue reading