Skills foundation formed to address electronics shortage

Companies and public bodies have clubbed together to form the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF). The foundation aims to increase and sustain the supply of industry-ready graduate engineers and boost career take-up in the sector.

National Microelectronics Institute CEO Derek Boyd said, “The dramatic decline in the numbers of electronic engineering graduates will present the country with a long term issue if left unchecked. We’ve identified the underlying problems in the existing skills pipeline which undermine the future prospects of the industry and UKESF has been created to tackle the major issues. Its 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 and has been launched with initial start-up funding from founder partners NMI, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies (SEMTA), ARM, Cambridge Silicon Radio, Dialog Semiconductor and Imagination Technologies. Founder university partners are Bristol, Edinburgh, Imperial College, Southampton and Surrey.

Indro Mukerjee, chairman and CEO of C-MAC MicroTechnology and chair of SEMTA’s electronics sector strategy group said, “It has taken a lot of hard work and collaboration to get UKESF off the ground and I now look forward to it becoming an integral part of the UK electronics scene. The foundation has set itself realistic goals yet to achieve them more private enterprises need to support it. Forward looking electronics companies need to sign-up to the UKESF programme and help address what is a national concern of strategic importance.”

The UKESF will encourage electronics employers to engage with schools in order to raise awareness of the sector and the variety of career opportunities it offers and run summer schools to attract school students towards studying for electronics engineering degrees and careers in electronic engineering. The organisation will also run 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.”

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