“Stop talking about the skills gap and start taking action!”
That’s the message from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) following the release of its new report which calls for a radical rethink about the role of schools and colleges in promoting engineering careers.
We hear you IMechE, and agree that the time for talk has passed – it’s time for action!
As those who frequent our blog will know, the skills gap is an issue we don’t shy away from. And we don’t just preach online, we make training and developing young people a priority in practice too. Trainees, apprentices, graduate interns; you name it, we’ve trained it.
As you can imagine, over the years we’ve had to work closely with schools, colleges and, in some cases, universities to make this work. During this time it hasn’t gone unnoticed that the traditional education system isn’t best suited for preparing the youth of today for an engineering career tomorrow.
We’re not in any way condemning or placing blame at the feet of teachers, quite the opposite. The issue is the system. The system directs young people towards either arts or sciences too soon, before they have developed an understanding of what engineering is and what a career in engineering requires. This needs to change.
Peter Finegold, Head of Education and Skills at IMechE, believes the best way to do this is to “Change the stories we tell about engineering and make the subject more visible throughout school”, while also considering a broader range of entry requirements for engineering degree courses. This would, Finegold says, encourage students with the right aptitude, but who may not fit the traditional archetype.
It remains to be seen whether or not the changes the education system needs will be introduced. In the meantime, however, it’s important that engineering companies make up for the shortfall in skills by looking at training apprentices as well as hiring fully trained graduates.
In fact, because this approach is proving so successful and popular for ourselves, we’re increasing the number of apprentices in our training programme and we’re accepting applications from prospective apprentices at this very moment. This approach has been worth its weight in gold for us over the past few years and we encourage all other engineering firms to take note and follow in our footsteps.
You can learn more about our apprenticeships, as well as how to get hold of further information and how to apply, by clicking here.