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Wanted - Engineers!

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Luke Smith Job Searching, Personal Development, Recruitment...

The acute skills shortage across the engineering and manufacturing sectors is certainly not breaking news.

However as the engineering and manufacturing sectors are such a cornerstone of the UK economy, we should be thinking very carefully about how to attract more young people to choose a career in Engineering. A study by the Royal Academy of Engineering estimates there will be a need for 800,000 new science, engineering and technology professionals by 2020.

Why should a young person choose a career in Engineering?

We spent time with two senior industry figures; Alex Tylee-Birdsall, Director at the leading engineering consultancy Drive System Design and Guy Foulger; UK Head of Engineering at HORIBA MIRA who are at the forefront of automotive engineering and development to get an insight into what a career in engineering has to offer a young person.  

There could not be a better time to become an Engineer says Guy “we are entering an exciting period of change within many areas of engineering, in fact technological change is probably more dynamic now than at any other point in the history of the automobile.” “The development of the motor vehicle has rapidly accelerated in the last 10 years, the demand for connectivity, drive towards electric and looking further ahead connected and autonomous vehicles require brand new skill sets for the sector.” Who thought automotive companies would be recruiting cybersecurity specialists!

Alex also feels that being an Engineer is not just for those who have spent their younger years dismantling and putting back together every toy given to them, or building something you should not in the garage! “If you have an aptitude for solving problems and a passion for being creative then the engineering and manufacturing sectors need somebody like you.”

How can employers encourage more young people into Engineering?

“Be committed to recruiting and developing young people, whether that is an Apprentice joining from school or a graduate from University” is vital to capturing the imagination of young people says Alex. “Be proactive, if you want to recruit a Graduate Engineer go into your target universities and tell the students what your business does, offer work placements or internships and give people real work, real projects to allow them to develop and flourish.” 

Alongside continuing to promote the STEM subjects within schools, Guy feels the engineering sectors could help position engineering as a more aspirational career choice to young people. “We could do more to recognise and promote what an Engineer is and does.” Certainly demonstrating what engineering knowledge and skills can achieve could play a big part in showing off its potential and attracting tomorrows Engineers. 

One piece of advice for a young person considering a career in engineering?

Alex… “Know your value, do not settle for just making the tea (you have to do your fair share!).” “If you have worked hard to gain your academic qualifications go and grasp responsibility.” “A good business should give you responsibility within a framework that supports you from a learning, development and mentoring perspective.”

It is worth mentioning that Alex and the team at Drive System Design started recruiting Graduate Engineers in 2010 and have not lost a single one to other engineering companies. They must be doing something right in attracting and developing young engineering talent!

Guy… “A career in engineering is a fantastic grounding but is only the start.” “An engineering business does not just employ Engineers, you can continue to develop your career as a Technical / Engineering Specialist but you also have the opportunity to move into different types of roles in the future e.g. project management, engineering management, commercial and business management.”

Guy initially joined HORIBA MIRA as a Graduate Engineer working within a test and development role before developing his career within Senior Engineer and Engineering Manager roles. Guy has now risen to a senior management position and is responsible for leading a business unit over 200 people strong. A true example of what opportunities are on offer for those that choose a career in Engineering!

For more information on a career in engineering, call or email Luke Smith on 01530 833825 or

Alternatively if you are an employer of engineers, you can access new and experienced talent in your industry through us.