UKESF combats UK talent crisis with #TurnOnToElectronics initiative

22 November 2018

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The UK Electronics Skills Foundation have begun to launch their #TurnOnToElectronics initiative, fronted by Gadget Show presenter Georgie Barrat; the campaign celebrates the UK electronics industry and encourages more young people to pursue such careers.

Despite the UK having the world’s sixth largest electronics sector (contributing towards 6% of our GDP which is over £120 million per year), only 3,330 UK students enrolled in electronic and electrical engineering-focused degrees in 2017 according to UCAS.

This is less than half the number enrolling in what prove far more popular mechanical engineering degree courses. In addition, the electronics skills crisis is likely to worsen post-Brexit, adversely affecting our economic prosperity.

Launched on 22nd November this year at the TechWorks Summit in London, the UK Electronics Skills Foundation’s (UKESF) #TurnOnToElectronics campaign is fighting back against this crisis. The campaign will be publicly endorsed by eminent figures at the event, including Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi CBE, Arm Professor of Computer Engineering and Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering at the University of Southampton.

At the summit, Stewart Edmondson, the foundation’s CEO, and Dr Geoff Merrett, head of the Centre for Internet of Things and Pervasive Systems, will be calling on employers, universities and other stakeholders to join the campaign and work collaboratively with schools to attract more young people into electronics. They will ask partners and allies to formally pledge their support by downloading and reading the campaign manifesto: www.turnontoelectronics.org.

The campaign’s sponsors include leading electronics organisations, such as Arm, Dialog, and Qualcomm. #TurnOnToElectronics already has 21 academic partners including the University of Cambridge, University of Southampton and Imperial College London.

Georgie Barrat, the Gadget Show presenter fronting the campaign, said: "I’m delighted to be involved in the UKESF’s #TurnOnToElectronics campaign, which is shining a welcome spotlight on careers in electronic Engineering.

“Often incorrectly seen as one of the less glamorous STEM areas, studying electronics can lead to an exciting and creative career, which enables students to make a real difference in the world.

“The UKESF is doing a fantastic job of encouraging more young people to study electronics and embark on a career in one of the world’s most important and dynamic industries."

To quote respectively Stewart Edmondson, CEO of the UKESF; and Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi CBE, Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, University of Southampton, moreover:

“The UK has a long heritage of technological innovation and a world-class  electronics industry. Adding to that, our Government’s new industrial strategy emphasises the importance of AI, robotics and transportation in further boosting productivity and earning power throughout the UK.

“The aim of our campaign is to ensure that this hugely important industry isn’t consumed by a black hole caused by a lack of talent. We urge supporters to read our manifesto and pledge to help the campaign in any way they can!”

“Electronics matters to me both personally and professionally,” said Professor Bashir, “as part of my key ambition to ignite interest and excitement amongst students and their teachers at schools across the UK.

“The #TurnOnToElectronics campaign provides a dynamic, inclusive and original approach to increase awareness amongst 11 to 16 year-olds. I am proud to support it and to promote the potential of the UK electronics sector to a new generation.”

For more information, visit the #TurnOnToElectronics website for information, both for supporters and young people who are interested in the industry: www.turnontoelectronics.org.


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