During my eight years leading the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF), demand for graduates has always been high but now it’s outstripping supply so the situation is even more critical. The Electronics industry is facing fierce competition from other sectors who are attracting Electronic Engineering graduates, as they’re recognising their skills are highly transferable. In a recent Viewpoint article in Electronics Weekly, I discussed the challenges employers are facing when recruiting Electronics Engineering graduates
In this blog, based on the article, I wanted to focus on how organisations can de-risk their graduate recruitment by being proactive and thinking a few steps ahead. At UKESF we urge employers to build relationships with potential employees, whilst they’re still undergraduates.
This can be done by offering work placements and internships. This enables employers to get to know someone, in the work context, over an extended period. A chance to see the ‘real’ person, assessing their capabilities and potential, to see if they are a good fit for your company.
From a student’s perspective, a work placement provides an invaluable opportunity to gain practical experience to complement their academic studies and to hopefully secure a job on completion of their studies.
For both employer and prospective future employee this process creates a ‘try before you buy’ scenario which can help create a successful recruitment match.
However, reaching students can be difficult for organisations. Attending careers fairs at universities can be time consuming and inefficient. The open recruitment route via student careers websites may not produce suitable candidates.
This is where the UKESF can help! For over 10 years, the UKESF Scholarship Scheme has helped the Electronics industry recruit talented and motivated undergraduates, connecting 90 companies with over 750 students.
Employers have been fully involved in the design and development of the scholarship scheme since its inception, and it has gone from strength-to-strength – this year we had the largest ever number of companies offer scholarships. The UKESF is able to reach a wider pool of students than individual companies are able to on their own.
Companies who are supporting undergraduates, to gain experience and build their professional skills throughout their studies, are taking positive action to address the graduate skills shortage and build long term relationships with high-achieving young engineers.
Stewart Edmondson, Chief Executive at UKESF