The BBC have reported what I believe most of us suspected and that is that manufacturing is growing at a fast rate. Activity in the manufacturing sector has actually grown at its fastest pace for three years according to the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
This is great news for all of us who operate in the sector, not without its problems though. There is still an important question to be asked – will there be enough skills to allow the growth to continue? Trade skills – specifically electrical and controls engineering are at a real premium with companies fighting over experienced talent. With a high number of people leaving the sector through retirement/ progression into other more lucrative areas, maintenance engineering has struggled to attract the right amount of talent. Data suggests there is a current shortage of 69000 engineers and technicians entering the sector. I’d argue there are not many better learning places for a young engineer than working in the manufacturing sector – the degree can come later should you so wish.
Apprenticeships are on the rise – but is enough being done to ensure we have the talent? With so many different degrees available with little vocation at the end of the 4 years and thousands of pounds spent – isn’t it up to the government to convince more companies and young people with the relevant abilities to consider careers in manufacturing apprenticeships.
Employers and recruiters have a responsibility. We need to ensure the proposition is attractive and is sold to the right people. If all we do is continually search and move around the experienced candidates in the industry we do not create the environment for young people to succeed. We must actively work together to provide young people the opportunity to learn.
There are no quick fixes however we as stakeholders in the industry can make a difference if we stop chasing the short-term wins.
Delve work with candidates and clients to create realistic expectations and creating succession planning with our clients.