Engineering executive outlines skills gap initiatives

In a far-reaching recent blog for The Engineer, Rolton Group Chairman Peter Rolton gave a fascinating insight into why he thinks the engineering industry is falling short in its attempts to recruit young, new talent and outlined some strategies to bring about an upturn in recruitment. PIF has picked out some of the best bits for you to read here.

Studying engineering

Making sure students are informed about engineering

First and foremost, young students need to be informed about engineering, its various disciplines and how to forge a career in the industry, according to Mr Rolton. “Young students who are passionate about engineering and keen to enter the industry will be able to make informed educational decisions in order to realise their goals. This can also help to diversify and widen the range of students taking on degrees and apprenticeships to get into the industry,” he blogged.

Government-funded programmes such as Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership’s Bright Futures Initiative allow students to get closer to the workplace; by signing up to these, engineering companies can support the industry through participation in careers fairs, open-door school visits to company offices, and other activities to increase their exposure to prospective engineers of the future,

Encouraging high flyers to consider engineering

Another major priority pinpointed in the blog is that once promising students take up STEM subjects their talents must be retained within the industry. “Many of the most gifted students get snapped up by companies in the City, drawn in by the prospect of an unbeatable salary, power and the dream of retirement by the time they turn 50,” wrote Mr Rolton.

“The Arkwright Scholarships Trust encourages these high-flying 15 and 16 year-olds to instead consider careers in engineering and technical design, through scholarships which support the further study of STEM subjects.

“Employers in these sectors can sponsor students who they believe show real potential, to attract them to the industry while promoting to others its need for quality thinkers. Rolton Group has just sponsored a female student for an Arkwright Scholarship, in recognition of her impressive GCSE grades,” he added.

Engineering is integral to our society

One thing is clear: engineers have a huge role to play in society and the rewards of pursuing a career in the industry can be hugely fulfilling. “While companies have a responsibility to attract a wider range of aspiring engineers, it is also important that parents and teachers recognise the vast opportunities on offer,” said Mr Rolton.

We live in an ever-changing technological society, but the technology cannot yet design itself. As such, engineering is integral to our society, which also means that engineers can, quite literally, influence how people live their lives. Play their cards right, and a job in the industry could provide all that the financial sector has to offer and more – Mr. Dyson’s success is a prime example,” he concluded.

Read Peter Rolton’s blog for The Engineer in full here.

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