If you really love engineering and manufacturing, it’s quite possible – if you are lucky – that you’ll get to spend your whole career in the industry. That could be 50 years. That’s gold watch time, or at least a supermarket voucher and a handshake from the HR director.
So those of us who already have a few years of experience under our belts may well be right to point out that there’s a lot more to come from us yet. So why all the fuss about a shortage of engineers coming through apprenticeships and universities?
Mike Rigby, writing for The Manufacture, ponders whether a lack of future talent might hamper manufacturing growth, and makes some great points about the need to make the most of what we already have.
Businesses investing in training and continuous professional development not only benefit now, as the work can be undertaken by experienced staff, but in the longer term too, as the knowledge passed on to future generations will be right up to date. Now, where’s my pipe and slippers….?
Inspiring the next generation of designers, engineers and makers is of paramount importance, but it can’t be the nation’s sole focus as two-thirds of the workforce of 2030 has already left full-time education. That means we need to place far greater emphasis on upskilling, retraining and lifelong learning in the truest sense.
I know of several businesses which have adopted innovative approaches to employee development, including taking imminent retirees ‘off timetable’ for the last 24 months of their career to share their vast knowledge through mentorship and development programmes, adopting Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs), and embracing flexible working practices to offer staff time to retrain.