Skills foundation established to head off ‘growing crisis’

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In a move designed to address what is generally considered a growing skills crisis, the National Microelectronics Institute (NMI) has announced the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF). The foundation aims to increase and sustain the supply of industry ready graduate engineers and to boost career take up in the sector.

NMI chief executive Derek Boyd, pictured, said: "Industry hasn't been recruiting enough graduates and it doesn't have a strong enough image. There will be no hope for the UK electronics industry unless there is better talent available. "The UKESF's goal is to ensure that the sector is supplied with the quality of talent to enable it to continue to be innovative, competitive and able to provide high value jobs to support the wider economy." UKESF is a collaboration of public bodies, private companies and leading UK universities. Founding partners include NMI, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and SEMTA, as well as industry partners ARM, CSR, Dialog Semiconductor and Imagination Technologies. Founder universities are Bristol, Edinburgh, Imperial College, Southampton and Surrey. UKESF will initially focus on: • Encouraging electronics employers to engage with schools in order to raise awareness of the sector and the variety of career opportunities it offers. • Electronics summer schools to attract school students towards studying for electronics engineering degrees and careers in Electronic Engineering. • A scholarship scheme, accessible to small and large companies, to link undergraduate students with electronics companies for work experience and to encourage progression into careers within the sector. Minister for Higher Education David Lammy said: "It is essential that we raise awareness of the rewarding careers available to young people in our growth industries – such as those in the electronics sector – and this new foundation will help provide the high quality industry ready graduates we need for economic success." The UKESF's plans include running summer schools, engaging with schools and providing undergraduate scholarships.