The majority of today's UK electronics engineers are self taught, poorly managed, work long hours and are forced to use restrictive design processes, according to Phil Mayo, managing director of Premier EDA Solutions.
Mayo made the comments following an article
in New Electronics in which Ruth Porter, programme manager at Intellect reflected on the opportunities and challenges for UK electronics. However, Mayo has been in discussions with over 500 engineers, across 40 events throughout the UK during the past 18 months and says that the overall feeling is of an industry 'in denial'.
He cited the current economic downturn as the cause for indecision and a lack of investment in R&D and engineering training. "The defence/security sectors are growing," Mayo asserted, "but companies here are mostly foreign owned and are the main protagonists of poor design processes. If R&D outputs are not as good as, or are more expensive than, other territories, there will be a mass exodus off shore. This sector therefore is hanging on by a thread and certainly does not represent the mainstream sectors of the industry."
Mayo described programmes designed to encourage an interest in the industry at school age (such as the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Programme and Richard Noble's Bloodhound Project) as 'sound and laudible' but he observed that there was still a need for shorter term solutions.
He continued: "The industry needs tangible help now. So my advice here is get out of the committee meetings and get in touch with what the industry really needs. There is a wealth of talent and a massive latent creative potential in UK electronics companies. We need to nurture and support it as a priority."