In a letter to whatshappeninginmanufacturing, Graham Mackrell, managing director at the motors and drives specialist Harmonic Drive, hits out at critics of the government’s efforts to address manufacturing skills shortages.
The recent Perkins review calls upon parents, teachers, employers and Government to unite to address the shortage of engineers in the UK.
It’s encouraging to see that an engineering week arranged recently in Scarborough attracted a high turnout of young students, enabling them to interact with fun demonstrations and talk to friendly faces in what is often perceived to be an intimidating industry.
It’s less encouraging however, to see that some armchair critics have criticised the Government when it has finally made positive steps to unite the disparate engineering and manufacturing communities.
The UK has heritage of innovation. But despite being one of our greatest exports, our knowledge base has been eroded in recent years by the rapid growth of Asian markets. The Government’s announcement of £49m in funding to address the skills shortage therefore, is welcome news.
The rapid pace of technological innovation means that by the time students leave university, their understanding of the industry may be outdated. At Harmonic Drive we have just initiated a programme to work with final year and postgraduate students to provide up to date robotics and transmission knowledge.
I would call on other SMEs and small businesses to engage with your local community in bringing about this long awaited change to the industry in similar ways. Don’t leave it all to big business and Government. Perhaps then we can be justified in our armchair criticism.
Graham Mackrell, managing director
Staffordshire Technology Park