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Conference Highlights Lack of UK Graduates

This years’ Collaborate to Innovate Conference was hosted at the MTC in Coventry and I was in attendance to further my knowledge of the engineering market and what 2018 had to offer from some of the major names in Engineering.

The Keynote speaker of the conference was Sir Vince Cable who offered an interesting insight into the engineering market following his two years on the board of a manufacturing company in Germany.

Not noted in this article was the Q&A session following his speech which discussed the skills gap within the engineering market in more detail. This is a key problem that I see for my clients on a regular basis with particular emphasis in embedded software engineering and hands on experience for university graduates. While the importance of engineering theory cannot be questioned, whether it be systems design or computational fluid dynamics, the aspect that is missing is being hands on within a manufacturing environment that is so essential.

A common problem that is reported by graduates I speak to is that when they interview for opportunities they are told they lack experience. As a graduate they are looking for junior positions which will develop their skills however companies do not have the time to train these graduates to become financially worthwhile. This is less of an issue for those who have completed sandwich or placement years which has given them hands on experience in the commercial world.

Sir Vince Cable made reference to the lack of skilled engineers in the UK and lack of graduates coming from UK universities. While this is a major issue for the UK I would also comment that we need to address the skills and experience we are equipping these graduates with to better enable them in today’s engineering employment market.

I would be interested to hear from any engineering graduates who have recently entered the employment market to discuss how they have found it. Look forward to hearing back from anyone with their own thoughts on the matter.