UKESF launched in Wales

05 June 2011

The UK Electronic Skills Foundation (UKESF), an initiative to develop an electronics talent pool, has been launched in Wales.

Supported by Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing technologies, UKESF brings together a mix of organisations including the NMI, the ESTnet (established by the Welsh Electronics Forum), employers, and Cardiff University.

UKESF is a collaboration between industry, universities and the public sector formed to tackle the threat of diminishing skills in the UK electronics industry across businesses of all sizes. It offers a sector-specific programme for employers to engage with young people at school and university through to graduate employment, by sponsoring and participating in a programme that is:
• Increasing the number of employers in the sector that are working with schools
• Offering talented 17 year-old students the opportunity to attend UKESF summer schools to find out about degree study and careers in Electronic Engineering
• Linking employers with high-calibre students for scholarships offering bursaries and practical experience of the industry through mentoring and work placements

At the Welsh launch event at Sony's UK Technology Centre in Bridgend, Bill Peaper, Semta's National Manager, Wales said: "Semta, as a founding partner of the UKESF model, are delighted to see the programme gain support and employer interest in Wales. The mix of employer, university and stakeholder support including the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, NMI and Semta are the key components to the long-term success and sustainability of this important programme, which tackles the issue across businesses of all sizes. We are confident that this approach will provide an excellent future talent pool of STEM graduates for our economy."

Rebecca Fradley, Global Head of Learning and Development at Dialog Semiconductor added: "Dialog Semiconductor really values being part of a programme that will ensure the future supply of talented electronics graduates for our industry. For UKESF to have a significant and national impact, we need to see more employers across the UK linking with UKESF and its partners to raise the profile of the electronics industry in schools and universities. Working together we can excite many more people from an early stage about electronics and maintain their interest in this vital field by supporting them during their undergraduate degrees."

Avril Lewis, Regional Manager for the ESTnet commented: "The latest technology industry research undertaken by the ESTnet and Semta highlights the rich diversity and high level of skills already in existence. However, in gaining competitive advantage, the industry has to be able to recruit individuals with experience and expertise, continually enhance the skills of its own workforce and invest in recruiting and training new graduates to secure its future resource."

Professor Phil Bowen, Deputy Director of Cardiff School of Engineering, one of the university partners in UKESF said: "If industry is going to receive the highly skilled graduates it needs, then it is essential that universities work with industry in initiatives like the UKESF. If we are to support a sustainable and responsive industrial sector then it is important that the key stakeholders are working together to optimise opportunities for young people, and to ensure that industry has access to high quality graduates."

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