British technical ingenuity to put Britain back on the map
Published: 10 Jan 2014
British engineering has many laurels to its name. The very first Industrial Revolution began in the late 18th Century and took place in Britain. It was the first time man had ever advanced from using manual tools to using machine operated equipment to carrying out production work.
British society and educational institutes have created some of the most famous scientists and engineers of the world. Britain’s pedigree for innovation, technology and engineering is a vital part of its heritage.
In the late 20th century, the world saw other countries taking the lead in the technology sector. Lately in the UK, engineering skills have been imported from abroad. There has been a shortage of engineering talent on home-ground, hence the reason behind the migration of skills from overseas. With less UK-generated intellectual property, there are fewer UK-designed products and engineered innovations. With a deficit of specialised skills in this sector, the manufacturing and export industries in the UK could face a bleak future.
However, this is gradually changing as UK organisations are opening their doors to fresh talent and offering apprenticeship programmes to young people and encouraging them to work in indigenous industries. The government is providing more incentives to students who are willing to take up STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) studies in their formative years. An extra £500 million funding has been proposed by the government for science education programmes. Student counselling and advisory services are provided to encourage pupils to take up STEM subjects in schools.
QinetiQ is a UK-based company that provides technical research and innovation expertise. It has taken the onus to run several engineering apprenticeship programmes that motivate young minds. To stay focused on the goal of breeding local engineering talent, QinetiQ and a group of Britain’s leading companies, including EADS, Babcock, Atkins, MBDA and Renishaw, have formed The 5% Club. The members of this select club endeavour to have a minimum of 5% of the UK workforce enrolled on formalised apprentice graduate development schemes. The senior officials of the club want to encourage other companies to be a part of this club too, so that all their efforts to push engineering and technology segments of the business can achieve better results.
QinetiQ believe that this is the right way forward; five years ago there was less than 1% of the workforce in apprenticeships and graduate schemes and now it’s growing every year. These focused efforts will help in closing the skill-gap further in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. The UK economy will benefit from growth in these sectors and in turn encourage young people to take up STEM-related studies and forge careers in one of the fastest growing industries of the world.
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