Inspiring the next generation is not just a UK problem

1 min read

Teaching electronics is a continuing issue – a 'hot potato' which spans from getting young people interested in the technology to producing graduates with the skills necessary for them to make meaningful contributions when they get a job.

There has been much debate on the issue in the UK, but it's interesting to find out that European employers hold broadly similar views. Teaching microelectronics was the topic of a panel debate at the recent Cadence Live event in Munich. While the scene was set by Professor Franco Maloberti from the University of Pavia, industry contributions came from a number of sources. Understandably, they all had similar requirements of academia. Rainer Schmidt-Rudloff, head of university relations for Infineon, described what the company sees as the ideal young engineer. "They are patient, open minded, responsible and team players," he said. "They have insight and confidence and can present complex topics, even to those with different backgrounds; for example, when investment is necessary." The other panellists agreed; universities need to produce more rounded graduates. But only one identified where efforts to generate more electronics engineers should be focused and that was Robert Bosch Zentrum's Jurgen Scheible. "We need more people who want to know how [electronic devices] work," he implored. "This has to be addressed in schools in order to make kids curious." In one respect, it's comforting to know that Germany faces the same issues as the UK. However, it also highlights the growing challenges facing the electronics industry in attracting the next generation of engineers.