Siemens has a grand plan to encourage children from age 11 to consider engineering as a career in a new scheme that targets 5,000 British schools.
The diversified industrials group has created an education portal with the Government that allows parents, and more importantly teachers and students, to explain engineering-related subjects more effectively in the classroom than “off the board” learning.
Siemens has aimed to reach 5,000 schools across the UK with the project by 2014. If successful, this will reach more than 1.95 million students in the first year and 4.5m by 2016.
For the last few years – arguibaly since the 2007/9 financial crisis – manufacturing industry and the Government have identified a worrying skills gap in engineering and manufacturing-related jobs which threatens long term growth in technology-based sectors. This is especially true of the ‘technician class’ of employees, perhaps five to 10 years into a technical job involving hard skills, recruitment for which receded in the service-sector dominated years of the Noughties.
The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and policymakers at the Bank of England, have identified a need for the British economy to rely more on manufacturing, trade and exports in the future. While some have decried this response has been late in the coming, a series of initiatives to support industry have demonstrated the conviction of government.
Today, BIS hosted its third annual UK Manufacturing Summit at the Motor Heritage Centre in Gaydon, and announced a £213m windfall – joint government and industry – to support advanced manufacturing supply chains.
Many companies have argued that the UK is not producing enough engineers to supply the technical job market of the future, especially if Britain is to maintain a strong position in car manufacturing, its aerospace industry (second in size globally, behind the US) and future opportunities in new energy infrastructure..
“We know that sustained public and private investment in this area is essential if we are to win the global skills race and create sustainable growth,” Juergen Maier, Siemens Industry UK managing director, told The Daily telegraph at the BIS summit today.
“It remains vital that we all play our role in developing talent for the future to replace the ageing workforce in the manufacturing and industrial sectors.”