Engage with Education to secure your future talent pipeline

PIF have had to chat to Sharon Olagunju, Marketing Manager, EDT (Engineering Development Trust) about her thoughts on how EDT is working to engage students with taking a career in engineering.

The process industries, in common with many other engineering and science based industries in the UK, are experiencing shortages of skilled recruits coming through the education system.

There are two possible reactions to this. Employers can either complain to their industry associations and politicians that the education system is failing to deliver the recruits they need, or they can determine that they are going to be part of the solution and engage with the education system to help form the sort of recruit they need in the future.

How can we encourage more students into engineering?

Students engaging with engineering

My organisation, education charity EDT runs a number of different programmes to help inspire young people into science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers, always working with local employers to tackle the issues.

One age group we cater for is 12-14 year olds who can take part in Go4SET, a programme that takes teams of young people through practical science and engineering projects with mentors from local industry. The programme typically meets the exacting standards of the Industrial Cadets accreditation which means that the students achieve a recognisable accreditation for their CV’s and the employers involved are recognised for their contribution to the important work in helping to close the skills gaps and improve the employability of young people in their local area.

How EDT programme works

The Go4SET programmes run by EDT in Scotland with major pharmaceutical manufacturer GSK are typical of what can be achieved. Last May pupils from six schools in Ayrshire and Angus worked on a 10 week project on the theme of “The Business of Recycling”. During the project they undertook a number of activities including visiting the GSK facilities at Montrose and Irvine and meeting role models in a range of different jobs at these facilities.


Caroline Jardine-Smith, who coordinates the Go4SET programme in Scotland says.

“The Go4SET programme provides work experience and industry awareness to those students who participate, as well as allowing them to see how the STEM subjects they study as part of their curriculum can be applied to provide practical and useful solutions to problems in a real world setting. Working with a world class organisation like GSK gives the students an insight into what a career in science, technology and engineering can be like and enables them to meet mentors who can be role models for their future career aspirations.

At the same time the company gets an early look at those students who could well form part of their talent pipeline in years to come and can encourage them to become part of other programmes and initiatives that keep them linked to their local industries over their secondary school careers and beyond.”

Alastair Leighton, Irvine Site Director for GSK says,

“It is crucially important for Scottish industry that there is a continuing flow of recruits with the ambition and qualifications to work in the industries that thrive in their local communities. By helping pupils through Go4SET, with the industrial Cadets accreditation, we are allowing them to get a good understanding of the interesting and sustainable employment opportunities which are available on their doorsteps, as well as helping them to develop skills and experience which will stand them in good stead in their future careers.”

How can your UK engineering company assist?

We are always looking for companies, large and small, who are prepared to engage with schools on the Go4SET project and other programmes, to be part of the solution to closing future skills gaps in science and engineering industries. It needn’t be an overwhelming commitment and can be an important investment for the future.

For more information visit www.etrust.org.uk

PIF would love to hear your comments. Are you student which has been through one of the EDT programmes?

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