The future of our industry is looking bright, especially when we consider the increasing demand for emerging technologies and the creation of new industries, opportunities and job roles. You could argue that this is the best time in history to get into an engineering field or career, as the pace of innovation is unparalleled.
As the demand for talented professionals in the active market continues to grow, the industry finds itself in the midst of a skills shortage and is looking for new ways to attract the next generation of engineers. But what can be done and how can we do that?
The engineering sector here in the UK has been struggling to attract the next wave of talent for some time now. In January 2021, the government published a white paper titled ‘Skills for Jobs: Lifelong Learning for Opportunity and Growth’ that highlighted the significant shortage of vital technician-level STEM skills including engineering-related occupations. This skills shortage in engineering and automation is identified as a lack of people leaving education with high-quality technical skills over the last 20 years.
Unfortunately, misperceptions of what a career in the industry involves still prevail as, like any other profession, it suffers from stereotypes. In fact, it could be argued that we need to do more to change this stigma surrounding roles in engineering more than anything else and make a collective effort to highlight the unlimited opportunities involved in the development of some of the most cutting-edge technologies.
At Wagstaff, we believe that a key part of our job as recruiters is to help educate adults and young people of the reality of our employment market, in order to attract the brightest and best minds out there. Students from an early age of both genders need to be better informed about the opportunities within engineering and the potential career paths open to them. We can achieve this by providing helpful labour marketing information to schools and colleges as well as showcasing training opportunities, apprenticeship programmes and pathways into the industry itself.
The Careers and Enterprise Company created an excellent platform for businesses to support their local schools through their Enterprise Adviser framework. Our founder Ruth Forster currently supports two local schools in Staffordshire by connecting businesses to education. This enables the pupils to have first hand interaction with employers and gain invaluable knowledge about the world of work as an engineer.
Research completed and reported by the The Careers and Enterprise Company clearly states “Employers engaging in careers provision are making a difference to young people and the economy, we ask is there an opportunity to educate not only young people, but maybe those experienced amongst us who are job seeking too. 3.3 million young people are now regularly meeting employers, up 70 per cent in 2 years”.
Infrastructure now exists for businesses of all sizes to engage strategically and deliver careers activities in all parts of the country. This has resulted in a surge in employer engagement with young people. 94 percent of large employers now have links with schools, colleges and universities. The white paper also reports that 80% of schools and colleges are now using the Gatsby Benchmarks of Good Career Guidance.
Julie Poppleton, Director of Careers at Chase Terrace Academy, a school Wagstaff works closely with, shared her recent thoughts on the importance of employer engagement with schools.
“It has never been any more critical for businesses to continue to connect and grow relationships with schools and colleges to showcase relevant opportunities and meeting Gatsby Benchmark 5. We need the support and expertise of employers to raise the awareness of the engineering and technology skills gaps/labour market and to increase young people’s appetites”.
We couldn’t agree more and are doing all we can to help play our part in shaping our industry’s future. We hope you can do the same!
Click here to find out more about becoming an Enterprise Adviser https://www.careersandenterprise.co.uk/employers-volunteers/join-enterprise-adviser-network