Are we maximising our opportunities for new talent?

According to Engineering UK, there is an increase in numbers of the 11-16 age group who would consider a career in engineering – this is great news. As 186,000 people with engineering skills are needed annually through to 2024, what a terrific opportunity this represents for the building controls industry.

I genuinely think we have a wonderful shared opportunity here – our industry needs young engineers and young engineers need a chance – it’s a win-win.

Right now, the spotlight is on engineering and strengthening how it is perceived by the wider public, in particular by younger people. If you have read some of my previous blogs, you will know that the BCIA is in partnership with the government campaign – Year of Engineering 2018. We are delighted to support this initiative as we want to raise the profile and understanding of what engineering is truly about…

Therefore, it’s up to those currently working in an engineering capacity, to spread the word and improve the appreciation of a career which knows no bounds.  Let’s capitalise on this and continue to do what we can for the next generation of engineers. I also genuinely believe that the skilled people already in our sector will play a great part in training and inspiring the new talent, we can’t leave it to someone else because that someone else is us.

The wealth of opportunity that engineering can provide has never been greater. The building controls sector is fast growing as technology continues to evolve. This creates ongoing opportunities for qualified engineers, but we have to ask ourselves, are we maximising our potential opportunities to reach out to millennials?

Like technology, the workplace does not remain static, it moves with the times. The same can be said of people’s working habits and behaviours. Therefore, we need to look at ways we can adapt our methods of working and educating to bring out the best of the fresh talent entering our sector and some of the best people we learn from are each other. Most millennials are looking to work for companies where they can continue their professional development and education. Training and upskilling is so important in the building controls sector due to advances in technology and the need to comply with legislation and energy efficiency targets. The BCIA offers a suite of revamped courses which are aimed from beginner level, up to highly experienced professionals who wish to expand their knowledge base.

However, organisations also need to provide development opportunities within the workplace to attract sought-after engineers. I find offering practical and hands-on projects is one of the best methods of engaging with young engineers. The beauty of engineering is the ability to be the first to correctly problem solve or identify other methods of fixing an issue. We need to encourage experimentation so that engineers can develop their creative and innovative skills and think outside the box…

More importantly, we need to let our work tell a story. We may think our work speaks for itself, but young inquisitive minds can learn so much and be inspired by enthusiastic and experienced professionals. Reading about something online is one thing, but nothing beats having a genuine interaction with someone to create an interest in pursuing a career in engineering.

Working within engineering and technology is dynamic, exciting and rewarding and we want to spur on the youth of today to find this out for themselves. So, ask yourselves honestly, are you doing everything you can to maximise opportunities for new engineers in your workplace and playing a part in this exciting journey?

Whether it’s a full apprenticeship, a two-week placement or supporting a local college with a careers day, through our individual actions, collectively we can make a massive difference and launch careers.

Find out more about the Year of Engineering here