Shining a light on electronics

2 mins read

The UKESF (UK Electronics Skills Foundation) has launched the TurnOnToElectronics initiative, which is to be fronted by Gadget Show presenter Georgie Barrat.

According to Stewart Edmondson, the Foundation’s CEO, the campaign comes in the face of, “an increasingly large skills shortage. We want the campaign to create a buzz around the UK electronics industry with the end goal of encouraging more young people into pursuing careers into what is an exciting and fast-growing sector.”

Despite the UK having the world’s sixth largest electronics sector, (worth in excess of £120billion per year), only 3,330 UK students enrolled in Electronic and Electrical Engineering degrees in 2017 according to UCAS.

This is less than half the number enrolling in far more popular Mechanical Engineering degree courses and with Brexit looming there are growing concerns that the electronics skills crisis will only worsen, adversely affecting the UK’s economic prosperity.

Launched at The TechWorks Summit by Richard Harrington, UK Minister for Industrial Strategy and Sector Deals, the TurnOnToElectronics campaign is looking to “fight back against this crisis,” according to Edmondson.”

Edmondson and Dr Geoff Merrett, Head of the Centre for Internet of Things and Pervasive Systems have called on employers, universities and other stakeholders to join the campaign and work collaboratively with schools to attract more young people into electronics.

“With our partners, we want to provide opportunities for students to help them develop their interest in Electronics and engineering, through to university study and/or apprenticeship,” explained Edmondson.

The Campaign will raise awareness about Electronics and will look to educate kids, parents and teachers on the possibilities of Electronics and ensure it is associated with the hottest tech trends.“We plan to demystify Electronics and move away from the ‘circuit board’ perception and paint a picture of the exciting opportunities available and bring them to life.”

The campaign will look to leverage the UK Electronics Skills Foundation’s network of partners to draw stakeholders more closely together, build alliances, make connections and encourage collaboration.

“We will be developing interest in Electronics by providing ‘Electronics Everywhere’ resources to schools across the UK.These will be ‘hands on’ electronics projects for schools aligned with Computing and Physics curricula (initially at A-Level) supported by CPD for teachers,” explained Edmondson.

The campaign’s sponsors include leading electronics organisations such as Qualcomm, ARM, Dialog and Infineon and there are already 21 academic partners including the University of Cambridge, University of Southampton and Imperial College.

Georgie Barrat, the Gadget Show presenter fronting the campaign, said: "I’m delighted to be involved in UKESF’s TurnOnToElectronics campaign, which is shining a welcome spotlight on careers in electronic engineering. Often incorrectly seen as one of the less glamorous STEM areas, studying electronics can lead to an exciting and creative career, which enables students to make a real difference in the world. The UKESF is doing a fantastic job of encouraging more young people to study electronics and embark on a career in one of the world’s most important and dynamic industries."

Edmondson said: “The UK has a long heritage of technological innovation and a world-class electronics industry. Adding to that, the UK Government’s new industrial strategy emphasises the importance of AI, robotics and transportation in further boosting productivity and earning power throughout the UK.

“The aim of our campaign is to ensure that this hugely important industry isn’t consumed by a black hole caused by a lack of talent. We urge supporters to sign our manifesto and pledge to help the campaign in any way they can!”