STEM Matters: Guest column – STE(A)M education is the future for electronics manufacturing

Author : Victoria Bonnar | Human Resources Manager | Dynamic EMS

01 March 2019

STEAM education

UK-based EMS provider, Dynamic EMS is like many other companies in its field: aware that it is home to an aging workforce. But perhaps unlike some others, the firm is working to put succession plans in place, and to promote an accurate, compelling picture of UK electronics manufacturing through various STEM education outreach initiatives.

This guest column was originally featured on the Dynamic EMS blog and subsequently in the March 2019 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy.

Human Resources Manager at Dynamic EMS, Victoria Bonnar has made STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) a personal crusade, and in this guest column, she discusses the steps that Dynamic EMS is taking to ensure that a career in electronics manufacturing is seen as an exciting, challenging and ‘dynamic’ opportunity for all…

Manufacturing is crucial to the UK. We led the industrial revolution – and to maintain our position as a country with influence, we need to continue to strengthen our skills and grow the number of goods made in the UK.

2017/18 statistics highlight that the manufacturing sector is rising, which allows us to continue to support employment and trade agreements. As our customers request higher levels of customisation, we’ve seen a shift towards more demanding and complex system assembly, which calls for a higher level of skill. There is also the ‘ripple effect’ in manufacturing. One new account creates approximately eight roles throughout the entire global supply chain.

So, with an aging workforce and a boom in electronics manufacturing, we need to bridge the talent gap to ensure the innovation of tomorrow becomes a reality. The challenge falls in talent acquisition. The solution is to ensure that companies like Dynamic EMS responsibly promote an accurate and compelling perception of careers within electronics manufacturing.

There is too much negativity surrounding the ability and attitude of the next generation. From our experience, Generation Y, or Millennials are just as hungry to learn and work as the generations who went before them (Generation X and the Baby Boomers). It’s sometimes just not packaged attractively enough to entice them.

Victoria Bonnar_Dynamic EMS logo

This is why we need to promote the reality, that a career in electronic manufacturing is a career in art, design, and engineering: essentially, innovating the products for tomorrow, today.  It’s this ‘packaging’ that we need to present – and to do this, we need to take STEM into the classroom. We would like to enhance the student’s knowledge, by being a source to help young people gain an accurate and compelling view of what a career in electronics manufacturing can offer.

There is an outdated view of electronics manufacturing in the UK. It’s far less labour intensive than it once was. We have invested significantly in capital equipment to streamline the manufacturing process, making it more efficient and effective. In turn, we have upskilled our team. Positions opening in design, engineering, supply chain and operations all require an understanding of the subjects that fall under the STEM umbrella.

Together with academia, industrial partners and best-in-class manufacturing technology companies, we would like to create new and better workforce models and STEM educational opportunities to support job creation, advance scientific discovery and enhance manufacturing capabilities.

We take every opportunity open to us to showcase our current reality of advanced manufacturing, robotics, connectivity tools, IoT, additive manufacturing, automation, supply chain management, innovation and tech. This ensures that the next generation is more aware, and has an accurate perception to allow them to form their own opinion of how rewarding a career in electronics manufacturing can be. It can take you around the world, raise your awareness of varying global cultures and it can put you in front of the technological future. 

It really is a dynamic environment to work in – and we will do what we can to ensure it is open to all.

This is the first in an occasional series of guest columns for STEM Matters. If you have an interesting viewpoint on STEM topics to share with EPDT readers, get in touch with Editor, Mark Gradwell at mark.gradwell@imlgroup.co.uk


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