"UKESF's focus on attracting younger students in UK schools to electronics was critical to our decision join as an industry partner."

Miranda Davies, Thales UK

Thales partners with UKESF

Thales partners with UKESF to attract UK’s best young talent into engineering

Press Release: Top-five employer of UK electronics graduates joins industry-backed programme to support and mentor next generation of engineers

Thales, one of the UK’s top-five employers of electrical and electronic engineering degree graduates has pledged its support to the UK Electronic Skills Foundation, which seeks to reverse the significant decline in UK students taking up the degree and progressing into the industry.

Thales, a global leader in the aerospace, transportation, security and defence sectors, is supporting the whole UKESF programme, including the Go4SET schools’ project for 12-14 year olds, summer schools for pre-university students and the undergraduate scholarship scheme. The company, which is funding this activity through the Thales Charitable Trust, is also a sponsor of the 2014 Summer School to be held at the University of Southampton in July.

Thales employs approximately 7,500 people in the UK (65,000 globally), across 35 sites, with nearly 40 per cent of its staff being engineers or researchers.

The 2013 ESCO report calculated the UK’s electronic systems industry to be worth £78 billion to the economy, employing approximately 850,000 skilled workers, with plans in place to grow this to £120 billion and 1 million people by 2020.

However, the ESCO report also highlighted the 29% drop in the number of UK students undertaking electronic engineering degree courses at British universities since 2002 as a significant threat to the industry.

Miranda Davies, Director, Emerging Talent for Thales UK, said: “Thales operates a global federation of research and development centres, with one of the largest in the UK, so the decline in UK electronics graduates is a serious concern for us. In the short term, we need to attract the best students from universities; hence we’re backing the scholarship scheme.

“The sustained pipeline of graduates is vital to the health of Thales’s UK operations. UKESF’s focus on attracting younger students in UK schools to electronics was critical to our decision join as an industry partner.”

Indro Mukerjee, UKESF chair and Plastic Logic CEO, said: “Partnering with global technology leaders like Thales is a vital part of our strategy. As well as highlighting that the UK is a global leader in electronics, it also helps send out a strong message to young people that there is a demand for electronics graduates across a range of careers and sectors.”

“UKESF was founded mainly with support from chip design companies and it’s great to see more companies from the electronic systems sector getting on board too.”

The UKESF was founded in 2010 to address the threat of a diminishing skills base in the UK electronics sector. UKESF runs a sector-specific programme for employers to engage with young people by sponsoring and participating in activities that include projects and courses for school pupils and a scholarship programme, where talented university students receive industry-funded bursaries, work placements and mentoring. The organisation’s principal aims are to increase and sustain the supply of high quality, industry ready graduate engineers and boost career take up in the industry.