Why doesn’t your company get involved with a local school and start developing the engineers of tomorrow?

1 min read

There has been a lot of talk lately about the shortage of engineering skills and the need to convince school students that engineering is a useful career. Unfortunately, a lot of this talk has taken the format of 'someone should do something about it'.

Luckily, there are some companies which have done something about it, including CAD tools vendor Premier EDA Solutions. It has helped John Warner School in Hoddesdon to create a new design and engineering centre that will support students at the school learn about a range of topics - including electronics, robotics and design - as part of a BTech curriculum.

Alongside a cash donation, Premier EDA provided 30 Altium Designer licences and work experience placements, as well as supporting staff development.

Premier EDA's managing director Phil Mayo said: "We are proud to be involved with the new centre and to congratulate the achievement of the head and his staff."

Mayo's advice to small companies wanting to work with local schools? "Get in there and meet them." Mayo says it's unlikely any school will turn you away. "But your approach may not fit or there may be time issues."

Alongside working directly with schools, companies can get involved in schemes such as Headstart and Go4SET - both run by EDT. Go4SET links teams of six pupils aged 12 or 13 with companies and universities to offer a 10 week STEM experience, whilst Headstart courses are designed to let students find out more about the career opportunities a degree course might open up.

If that doesn't appeal, why not get involved with providing work experience for Year 10 students? "There's a standard week available and you only need to do a little health and safety work," Mayo pointed out. "Or you can do what Premier EDA has done - create a bespoke two week experience. One week is at the end of the school term, the other is in their own time."

Engineering skills shortages won't solve themselves. While the Government has a role to play, companies getting involved is one of the best ways to start solving the problem.