In last year’s Annual Manufacturing Report (2019), it was revealed that more than half of businesses in the industry believed that the education system was failing the industry. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that the government is doing much to change that, so it is up to the business owners to change perceptions.
If you are a business owner hoping for talented, passionate, and promising new hires in the future, we have some advice for how you can improve the education of young people.
If you are a young person hoping to get into manufacturing, then we also have some suggestions that may be able to help you achieve success. Following the standard education route isn’t always the fastest, or best, route into our industry.
What Exists Now
In terms of the education that already exists, many businesses believe that much of the skills training is outdated and impractical. It is thought that not enough students are being taught to think about the exciting potential of 3D prototyping, or where their future careers might lie in respect to these advancements.
Despite being surrounded by smart technology, young people are not being taught about the future of connected product manufacturing, so they aren’t considering roles in maintaining those technologies. This means that individuals aren’t training to fulfil the roles that we need in our society.
This doesn’t mean that young people are ignorant of automation in factories, however, but they are getting the wrong message about it. Instead of being inspired to create the next automating machine, or learning the skills required to fix and understand automation, young people are hearing about how these machines are cutting jobs from the sector and panicking. We need to teach young students that a future in manufacturing isn’t closed to them because of automation, but that the skills we need are changing to be more exciting because of it.
One way to help young people realise the future of industry is to show it to them. An apprenticeship can offer students the hands-on experience they need to understand what is required from today’s manufacturing scene. If they are looking to further their education after their apprenticeship by taking on a degree, they will be better prepared for which courses can really benefit the companies of today, and may return to you in the future as an ideal candidate.
The Future for Businesses
Most companies in UK manufacturing have felt the impact of the skills gap on their business, and agree that while plenty of skilled workers are retiring, they are not being replaced by enough passionate young people.
To solve this problem, we first need to understand why young people aren’t as attracted to manufacturing as they used to be. The reasons for this could be down to education, or it could be due to uncertainty about the future of the industry. A study quoted by The Telegraph found that 40% of high school students believe that manufacturing is boring, and that only 15% of college-age students believed it had a good wage. Clearly, something needs to change to motivate the future of the manufacturing scene.
One way that businesses can change these views is by going to careers fairs and speaking to children face-to-face and offering them realistic information about the industry. This means talking to them about the kinds of skills that manufacturing is looking for, and the kinds of wages that can bring, compared to other jobs.
Another way to break down the myths surrounding our industry is to offer tours to local schools. These tours, however, need to be thoughtfully planned in order to have the right impact. You want to inspire young people with your business, skills and tools.
For Young People
If you are a young person considering what a future in manufacturing might look like for you, we recommend getting in touch with your local manufacturing company to learn what kind of apprenticeships are available. Experience in our industry is irreplaceable and will help you to secure work in the future.
Overall, we place importance on engineering skills and problem-solving attitudes. Engineering at GCSE opens doors to many wonderful careers and the skills that you learn will stay with you for life. Manufacturing is more than just skills; it is about living with a positive mindset dedicated to making the world around you better with innovative solutions. If this worldview appeals to you, then you might want to consider a career in manufacturing.
We are a springs manufacturer dedicated to supporting young people in the early stages of their career with our apprenticeship programs. If you are interested in our products, or in discussing the future of education and hiring in the industry, contact us.