3 experts on solving the engineering skills shortage

Engineering

You’ll be familiar with the statistics. In the UK alone, there’s an annual shortfall of 69,000 engineers according to the 2016 State of Engineering report. Meanwhile, more than 1.8m more workers with engineering skills will be needed by 2025.

You’ll be familiar with the statistics. In the UK alone, there’s an annual shortfall of 69,000 engineers according to the 2016 State of Engineering report. Meanwhile, more than 1.8m more workers with engineering skills will be needed by 2025.

Talk of the skills crisis continues to dominate the engineering landscape. However, there are plenty of experts having their say on how to boost the talent pipeline and upskill.

We’ve hand-picked some of the best solutions being put forward, including:

  • Promoting engineering as a creative industry
  • Reaching out to key influencers
  • Using Augmented Reality as a training tool

Creativity is key

If engineering wants to attract a larger, more diverse talent pool then it needs to sell the creativity within the industry.

Professor Tim Ibell, chair of the 2018 Structural Awards, emphasised this in an opinion piece published by The Engineer.

In his words: “As an educator myself, I am convinced that one of the most sought-after attributes of all engineers, namely creativity, should be central to our attraction of youngsters to become engineers.

“If you are interested in everything at school, including STEM, humanities and the arts, then become an engineer. You have the perfect make up if you have breadth of outlook, technical ability and emotional intelligence to want to do good for the world.”

The emphasis on creativity, combined with the ‘come and make a difference’ message, rings true for all engineering sectors.

Target the engineering influencers

Calls to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) education have been widespread in recent years.

But where does STEM outreach fit into the bigger picture?

Lynn Willacy, community and STEM ambassador at multinational Air Products, has put it like this:

“We all have a responsibility to ensure that STEM outreach activity moves beyond ‘nice to have’ to become a key part of business strategy. Effective engagement means not just reaching out to potential recruits but also to those that influence them – parents, grandparents and teachers are all key.”

Companies that broaden their community outreach away from just traditional academia will be able to attract different age groups and backgrounds.

Accelerate training with augmented reality

With engineering’s ageing workforce rapidly approaching retirement age the need to upskill younger counterparts is apparent.

This is where new technology is really coming into its own.

Youssef Mestari, a Programme Director at engineering giant Honeywell, has commented on the innovative ways his business has accelerated learning.

He told the Institution of Mechanical Engineers: “Intelligent deployment of emerging technologies will play a central role here, with solutions like augmented reality providing new ways to record industry veterans at work, creating active assistance for workers and immersive training sessions. 

Augmented reality has been shown to reduce technical training from six to just two months.”

Is your business working on its attraction and retention? It’d be great to discuss your solutions. Email alex.hess@bps-world.com and I’ll jump on a call to talk them through and let you know how we can help.

Related Posts

Back to Index

Share Share on facebook Share on linkedin Share on twitter

Sign-up for our latest thinking

Fill in the form to get our opinions on the hottest industry topics.