Working with organisations to bridge the skills gap

Jun 1, 2017

Andrew Grazebrook, Head of Business Development, works with organisations from a range of sectors to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. During his time at EngineeringUK he has seen incredible participant growth across all programmes. Here he talks about his role and why there's still a big challenge ahead. 

I speak to lots of companies every day who know they need more people than they see coming up through the pipeline. They want to know how they can be part of addressing that skills gap and I help them find ways to get actively engaged.

One obvious way is to be part of The Big Bang Fair - you can get your feet wet quite quickly at an event. It’s particularly rewarding to see an idea you’ve supported and discussed in the run-up turned into a showfloor activity that’s surrounded by kids. That tangible result makes me proud and highlights the value of a creative environment for discussion.

TATA Consultancy Services were recently faced with the challenge of representing what they do to a new, young audience. The solution was an interactive sandbox. Designed by a team on their graduate programme, it brought to life software, coding and technology in a tactile way that is very familiar to kids.

When the Institute of Refrigeration came to The Fair (with their bespoke Cool Science activities) they got visitors working on F1 technology that was being applied in M&S fridges. Their activity was hugely popular and came with a strong message about the different ways to use STEM skills.

You might not think about the engineering and technology in places like supermarkets (or banks or cinemas), but we need young people to recognise the engineering and technology that goes into all of them. Showing how skills can be applied in different contexts, not just in engineering companies, is important in connecting with young people.

That’s why I want to work with an even wider range of sectors. Our job isn’t done until there isn’t a STEM skills shortage. Meanwhile, we continue to work with companies of all sizes, PEIs, trade bodies, other charities and education etc to connect youngsters with real world jobs and the skills you need to do them.

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