An In-Depth Look at The Skills Gap Troubling The Industry
Manufacturing is a highly professional industry that requires its workers to earn particular qualifications, leading to the current skills gap shortage troubling the sector. Recruiting skilled engineers and other production team members is a constant issue to fill all the current vacancies, but there are ways to fix this.
What Is The Manufacturing Skills Gap?
The manufacturing industry plays a prominent role in the UK’s economy. With over 270 thousand businesses in the manufacturing sector across the UK, it’s recognised as one of the most significant contributors to the UK economy.
Any business needs to adapt to thrive and evolve, including STEM industries. By implementing intelligent technologies such as big data, cloud computing and industrial IoT, managers can more accurately optimise their work processes and identify those areas that need improvement.
The skills gap is partially due to the rapid advances in smart technologies and automation that are helping increase the efficiency of the industry. However, whilst investing in these new technologies is a great idea, many people do not have the experience or qualifications to use them.
Unfortunately, there are many working positions unfulfilled across manufacturing and other STEM sectors. These vacancies are known as the skills gap. The manufacturing skills gap is not just a buzzword for low employment numbers; it is, in fact, a complex reality that many spring manufacturers face as there are more open positions than applicants to fill them.
Manufacturers National Contribution
Pressing manufacturers such as ourselves are among the many companies in our sector to account for 9.7% of the total UK economic output in 2021 (gross value added). At the start of 2022, manufacturing output was 0.8% higher than the previous month but 1.6% below the beginning of 2020. All of this was achieved with this sector 7.3% of the jobs positions available in the UK.
Current State of The Industry
The British chamber of commerce, early this year, reported in their quarterly recruitment outlook that there are record highs in recruitment difficulties. In addition, 79% of companies shared that they have problems filling positions. Companies have reported a broad range of issues that have contributed to this, such as the effects of Brexit and the pandemic.
Head of people policy, Jane Gratton, believes that these results highlight the continuing difficulties employers face in accessing the skilled labour they need and that such a loss will impact the country’s economic recovery. For example, as more compression spring manufacturers struggle to fill their skills gap, it will create a knock-on effect on their ability to provide products. This effect will continue adding struggles to an already pressured supply chain battling supply and demand.
Upskilling Your Team
One short term solution to the skills gap problem is to upskill your current workforce. Re-training and developing new skills is an excellent way to grow your existing team and address those areas with gaps. Additionally, focusing on automating easier processes will free up those team members to address the more complex parts of your business.
Another practical method for filling skills gaps with upskilling is implementing personal development plans (or PDPs). These help companies set goals for each employee and encourage their development as they learn the skills required.
By upskilling your team to your new equipment and procedures, companies are building well-rounded, multi-skilled workforces capable of filling those missing positions and increasing their businesses’ overall efficiency.
Investing In Young People
At European Springs, we believe that investing in new engineers supports us and benefits the industry as a whole. In addition, by increasing awareness of the advantages of STEM careers to students through various existing programs and apprenticeship schemes, the talent pool will be increased dramatically.
Continuing to promote our excellent apprenticeships is crucial to us as a company. We offer incredible schemes that follow the mechanical manufacturing apprenticeship framework and award BTEC Level 3 certificates in Engineering operations and maintenance.
Filling The Skills Gap
The way manufacturing companies react to this labour shortage will be an essential factor in deciding the future of the manufacturing industry. In order to prosper, the sector must embrace the initiatives already in place to attract new skilled people to enjoy a profitable career in STEM.
Scholarships, bursaries, and apprenticeships are all fantastic ways of increasing this awareness and are proving to address the skills gap successfully. In addition, male and female postgraduates students can apply for funding opportunities that will help them explore a career in manufacturing or any other sector under STEM.
Brunel University in London offers a mentoring program called Women in Engineering and Computing (or WIBEC) that encourages and supports female graduates and undergraduates to begin a fulfilling career in manufacturing.
The UK is home to many prestigious universities well known for innovation, research and creativity. This has created a reputation for top-ranked UK universities globally and has been providing STEM education in many forms for centuries. In addition, this positive relationship between these institutions and manufacturing companies have created a supportive network for job hunting or apprenticeship applications that makes it much easier for employers to find people to fill their skills gaps.