premium vehicle manufacturer is supporting the UKESF Summer Schools programme, which provides a taste of degree study and careers in electronics to school pupils; and its professional development initiatives for undergraduates on the UKESF scholarship scheme.
The UK’s electronic engineering and automotive manufacturing sectors are jointly worth over £50 billion to the economy, and employ approximately 400,000 skilled workers. JLR employs over 1,000 electrical and electronic engineers for research and development, all of which are based in the UK.
However, the 47% drop (2002-2008) in the number of UK students undertaking electronic engineering degree courses at British universities threatens a sustainable supply of graduates to meet the demands of both the £23-billion a year UK electronics industry and a range of key sectors requiring these skills. Along with other companies, JLR is supporting UKESF to raise the profile of the industry among young people.
Dr Alex Mouzakitis, technical specialist and manager at JLR said: “We have an R&D workforce that’s exclusively based in the UK, so we fundamentally need to have a strong talent pool here to recruit from. We were persuaded by the UKESF’s mission and methods; and its work has the potential to help us actively engage with some of the brightest young minds to raise the profile of automotive engineering as an interesting and rewarding career option.”
“Electronic engineering graduates are among the most demanded and best paid in the UK,” said Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic and chairman of the UKESF strategic advisory board. “JLR is one of the most recognisable brands, both here in the UK and in new markets such as China, yet the decline in the number of engineering students has affected it too and by supporting UKESF it helps reverse that decline.”
Lynn Tomkins, the UK Operations Director for Semta, a UKESF founding member said: “JLR has an exceptional track record for responsible employment. It has, for a long time, been actively engaged in developing talent to create a skilled workforce and recently increased its annual graduate intake from 135 to 340, so we’re delighted to have its backing.
“The company will begin working with UKESF this year to engage with Britain’s best young talent and enthuse them about electronics skills and the complexity of technological advances in the manufacturing industry, especially for luxury vehicle development.”
The UKESF was founded in 2010 by the collaboration of public bodies, private companies and UK universities to address the threat of a diminishing skills base in the UK electronics sector. The UKESF runs a sector-specific programme for employers to engage with young people by sponsoring and participating in activities that include projects and courses for school pupils and a scholarship programme, where talented university students receive industry-funded bursaries, work placements and mentoring. The organisation’s principal aims are to increase and sustain the supply of high quality industry ready graduate engineers and boost career take up in the industry.