15 Jul 2014

Summer school encourages young engineers

There has been much talk in the UK about a skill shortage and insufficient people entering engineering as a profession.

There are many opinions why engineering is not seen as the career of choice by many in the UK, but a number of organisations are addressing the issue. One called the UK Electronics Skills Foundation, UKESF organised a summer school which was hosted by the University of Southampton between 7 and 11 July.

The aim of the summer school was to show the pre-university level students that electronics and electronic engineering is wide ranging and makes a particularly interesting and stimulating career.

The five-day course consisted of several elements included practical laboratory work and this was supported by lectures from academics from UKESF university partners, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Manchester, Nottingham, and York as well as the host university.

Additionally field trips to course sponsors Thales and the Science & Technology Facilities Council were organised. These trips offered students at the engineering summer school the opportunity to gain practical insights into the lives of working electronic engineers across a range of disciplines including aerospace, defence, security, transport, particle physics and space technology.

The course was supported by UKESF scholarship students currently studying at the University of Southampton. In addition to this, UKESF scholarship students from previous years talked about their experience of working in the industry.

Addressing the skills shortage is of growing importance. In the UK many major electronics companies are finding difficulty in filling jobs with quality engineers and with a prediction of 150 000 new and highly skilled jobs being created by 2020, there is an increasing need for electronics graduates.

However the issue is not only applicable to the UK. Many western countries are facing similar skills shortages and there is a need to generate more interest in engineering as a suitable career.

This summer school, and others like it are seen as a way of creating additional interest, showing young students that engineering in all its forms and in this case electronics in particular can form a career that is able to provide significant interest, a good income and status that is the equal of most other careers.

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