Dreaming of a job in manufacturing isn’t going to be at the top of most young people’s wish list. It wasn’t mine - I wanted to be a rock star for the majority of my youth.
However, when it comes to the point when a young person is making choices about their future career, the manufacturing and engineering industry needs to be one of the real potential considerations.
I’ve worked in engineering and manufacturing my whole working life, and it has been a rewarding and enjoyable career. Since starting a summer holiday apprenticeship for Sharp Manufacturing Ltd as a bright eyed, bushy tailed 15 year old, I’ve grown and developed my experience and skill set across the food, electrical and packaging industries: becoming an Engineering manager for international food manufactures to providing support and advisory services to large and small manufacturing firms. It’s been both financially and personally rewarding and I’ve loved every minute of it.
But how do we go about attracting new talent to the industry so we can continually develop and be a global leading sector in the UK?
The Manufacturing Weeks that are taking place across various cities across the country in October, including Bradford and Leeds, are a fantastic opportunity to showcase the sector to young people.
Wouldn’t it be brilliant if every authority took the lead on similar initiatives that really bring the industry to life for pupils, linking directly with people and business from across the manufacturing community?
However, this engagement and interest in the sector for school children, shouldn’t just be confined to one month in the year. Ongoing opportunities for people from manufacturing and engineering to speak in schools, work experience and mentor schemes, lessons incorporating the industry and continually engaging and educating school staff on industry developments is crucial.
Other significant factors to address include:
Along with roles being poorly paid, involving long hours and little emotional reward, not all manufacturing jobs involve people working on factory lines, and not all engineering roles are dominated by older males.
These stereotypes are still very much embedded and need continually addressing to show the variety of opportunity, and the inclusivity of the industry. There is still a lot we need to do in this area, but those who are leading should be highlighted and supported to engage and inspire others.
Having people in the public eye that young people can relate and inspire to, is so important for any industry in order to attract interest and engagement.
With the lack of young figure heads in the media from the manufacturing industry, it could limit the appeal and awareness, and unfortunately reinforces the opinion, it’s not a young person’s industry. Applications to be the manufacturing equivalent of Raheem Sterling, apply now!
- Leading on Important Issues
Mental health, Sustainability and flexible working are just three key issues that people expect good employers to have values around and embed into their culture.
With great examples up and down the country within the manufacturing and engineering sector, it’s up to us an industry to make sure the young people of today are aware of this, and more companies get on board to support them.
There is so much potential across the sector, with 2.7 million high value jobs and a contribution of £192 billion to the UK economy. The industry has never been more exciting! Who wouldn’t want to work in it?