This year 80 A level and Scottish Higher students from 77 schools across the UK are participating in the UKESF summer school, twice as many as the inaugural course in 2011.
Whilst UCAS data shows a significant rise in demand for engineering and technology courses since 2002, UKESF is addressing a 26 per cent drop in British applicants to EEE courses between 2002 and 2013. In partnership with EDT Headstart, UKESF runs a programme of summer schools encouraging school students to consider degrees and careers in electronics. The UKESF programme also includes a scholarship scheme linking university students with employers for sponsorship and work experience.
The five-day summer school course, sponsored by a number of companies including ARM, Dialog Semiconductor and Jaguar Land Rover, consists of practical lab work and lectures from academics from UKESF university partners Cardiff, Edinburgh, Imperial, Manchester, Nottingham, and York as well as the University of Southampton, which hosts the event.
There are also field trips to Thales and the Science and Technology Facilities Council, offering students the opportunity to gain practical insights into the lives of working electronic engineers across a range of disciplines including aerospace, defence, security, transport, particle physics and space technology.
The course is supported by UKESF scholarship students currently studying at the University of Southampton, and features presentations from previous UKESF scholarship students who will talk about their experience of working in the industry.
“These courses are a fantastic way for school students to learn about electronics and to encourage them into degrees valued by an industry that has a range of rewarding careers to offer,” says Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, Associate Dean for Research at the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering.
“The UK electronics systems industry is estimated to contribute £78 billion to the economy with the potential to grow and generate 150,000 new and highly-skilled jobs by 2020,” says Indro Mukerjee, chairman of the UKESF strategic advisory board and member of the ESCO council. “To nourish this growth, we need more young people to aspire to careers in this sector, but of great concern at the moment is the decline in UK university applicants for electronics. I am delighted that our summer schools are proving so popular and hope they will ignite the enthusiasm of future electronics engineers.”