Supported by the UK's leading electronics companies, the inaugural UKESF Summer Workshop aims to better prepare electronic engineering graduates for the workplace

UK electronics industry leaders support initiative to tackle graduate skills shortage

UK electronics industry leaders support initiative to tackle graduate skills shortage

Press Release: UK electronics industry leaders support initiative to tackle graduate skills shortage.

Warren East, CEO of ARM, meets UKESF scholars
Warren East, CEO of ARM, meets UKESF scholars

Top electronics business leaders are going back to university today to ensure tomorrow’s elite graduates are better prepared to meet employers’ high expectations.

Electronic engineering students have been handpicked from the UK’s leading universities, as UKESF scholars, to meet and learn from industry bosses during a five-day course run by the UK Electronic Skills Foundation,which is held at the University of Surrey.

Supported by the UK’s leading electronics companies, the inaugural UKESF Summer Workshop aims to better prepare electronic engineering graduates for the workplace; answering a call for top graduates to enter the jobs market with more than academic skills.

This year’s CBI Education and Skills survey highlighted a severe shortage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates and a lack in workplace experience and employability skills among graduates such as team working, customer awareness and communication. In electronics there has been a dramatic decline in students entering electronic engineering degrees (47% between 2002 and 2008).

Scholars will undertake professional development sessions to complement academic learning, meet with CEOs and senior executives from companies including ARM (Warren East), Imagination Technologies (Tony King-Smith) and C-MAC MicroTechnology (Indro Mukerjee).

Tony King-Smith, Imagination Technologies VP for Marketing, meets some of Imagination's UKESF scholars
Tony King-Smith, Imagination Technologies VP for Marketing, meets some of Imagination’s UKESF scholars

Bill Parsons, executive vice president human resources, ARM said: “The call for new graduates to be able to hit the ground running when they enter the jobs market is one that has been issued by organisations, such as ARM, in virtually all markets and countries. The UK’s electronics industry clearly has a vested interested in the matter and it’s no surprise that the UK’s electronics leaders are here to support these talented scholars. Indeed, it is imperative that companies are able attract the talent they need to drive development of smart systems, such as digital TVs, tablets and other mobile devices.”

Indro Mukerjee, chair of UKESF Strategic Advisory Board, chair of Semta’s electronics strategy group, and executive chairman, C-MAC MicroTechnology said: “Electronic engineering is a key enabling technology for economic growth yet we’ve seen nearly a 50 per cent decline in students entering electronic engineering degrees in just a few years. We’re working to reverse this decline, and to ensure graduates are better prepared for the exciting and rewarding careers in our industry.”

The UK electronics industry contributes £23 billion per year[1] to the British economy. The UKESF is a collaborative initiative between public and private sector organisations, seeking to address the skills pipeline at grassroots level. It supports talented individuals through a combination of skills workshops, industry-sponsored bursaries, work experience placements and industrial mentoring, which run throughout the UKESF Scholar’s university life. The organisation also runs initiatives that seek to increase awareness of the range of careers in the electronics sector among school students and increase the number of UCAS entries.

The five-day intensive course was designed, and is being delivered in partnership with Semta’s National Skills Academy for Manufacturing, the IET and industry partners. Semta’s Academy supports the sector’s global competitiveness by developing top quality, fit-for-purpose solutions to critical training and development needs.

UKESF was founded in 2010 by Semta, NMI, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and industry partners. The organisation brings together the public and private sectors with leading universities and aims to provide 160 new industry-funded undergraduate scholarships each year, with 10 UKESF partner universities and 100 sponsor companies signed up by 2014.

References:

[1]Engineering and Technology Board, “Engineering UK 2007”, Research Report, Dec2007 – section 3.9.4