Developing future talent in manufacturing

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Sally-Cleary-290x217Recognising talent in an industry that is facing a skills shortage is of huge importance, so it’s very fitting that we’re partnering with the EEF Manufacturing Awards for their 10th anniversary. 

It’s been great to read about the inspirational stories and tales of success I’ve seen so far, and I would like to thank EEF again for allowing us to sponsor a category. We’ve been supporting our manufacturing clients for almost 60 years, and with that practice, cultivating a successful future comes as second nature to our highly experienced team. 

This is the first time Randstad has sponsored the EEF Awards - I’ll be sitting on the judging panel with the other judges to identify the shining stars that have gone above and beyond to support their businesses, the organisations that have worked hard to develop new leaders, and those who have inspired employees and are helping to develop the next generation of skilled manufacturers. 

Randstad  will be sponsoring the ‘developing future talent’ category. We’ll be looking out for those who have gone the extra mile to build skills and develop employees, while supporting the overall manufacturing industry by promoting the importance within the community. The judges and I will be looking out for evidence of improved or increased skills, training and development opportunities through accredited qualifications programmes, local workplace initiatives, implementation of new training programmes, primary and secondary school support programmes, and promotional community activity. 

The skills shortage being faced by the manufacturing industry is a huge concern to all of us. Manufacturing contributes a massive £6.7 trillion to the global economy, with the UK being listed as the world’s eighth largest industrial nation. The Manufacturer predicted that if current growth trends continue, the UK will break into the top five within the next three years. EEF’s latest fact card reinforces the importance of UK manufacturing - the industry currently employs 2.7 million people, accounts for 45% of total exports (totalling £275 billion) and represents 70% of business research and development. 

We collectively need to address the shortage and the concern around young people losing interest in manufacturing subjects. UK businesses are approaching record levels of recruitment difficulties, with almost 80% of manufacturing companies struggling to recruit. The industry is also unfortunately experiencing a downturn in the number of graduates. Mediaworks stated that we will need 265,000 skilled entrants per year to meet the demand for engineering enterprises until 2024. However, currently, we are experiencing a shortage of 20,000 graduates. Very concerning to say the least. 

Uncertainties around Brexit are causing some anxieties too. A new report published by EEF reveals that 47% of UK manufacturers are concerned about accessing the skills they require after the UK leaves the EU. I am in agreement with Tim Thomas, director of Skills and Employment Policy at EEF who said “Skills shortages are endemic in manufacturing and engineering and companies are becoming increasingly concerned about their ability to access the skills they need post-Brexit,”.

To combat this and to generate more interest we need to ensure manufacturing companies are investing in existing workforces, focusing on development opportunities, building skills, and nurturing future talent - something that I’ve been looking for evidence of while reading through the entries. Cranfield University’s whitepaper provides some good reading on what actions are needed - their research showed that apprenticeships and investment in skills training are the top factors which can help make a difference and address this problem. 

Good luck to all those that have entered!
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