Taking Charge – How Do We Find Our ‘Engineering Leaders’?
As regular readers of our blog will already be aware, the subject of the impending engineering skills crisis is a topic we have reported on extensively in the past.
In recent years, the government and a number of other organisations have launched a wealth of initiatives to help tackle the dearth of engineers in the UK, in an attempt to stem the tide of the growing engineering skills gap.
But according to an intriguing new article from The Engineer, it’s not just more engineers that we need here in the UK, it’s more engineering leaders too.
Inspiring The Leaders of Tomorrow
At present, there are numerous schemes in play, designed to inspire schoolchildren to take an interest in science and engineering. But according to The Engineer, what we now need are more specific leadership programmes targeting undergraduate students.
The Engineer makes a rather compelling case. After all, if we want the UK to be an industry leader when it comes to engineering, we will surely need highly skilled individuals to help us to lead the way.
Admittedly, many talented engineers might simply rise to the top anyway and develop into leadership roles – eventually. Yet with an engineering skills crisis knocking on our doors, the need for leadership is there, so it makes sense to enable this to happen sooner, and inspire budding engineers to reach leadership roles earlier in their careers.
A number of countries across the world, including the US, are already investing heavily in engineering leadership programs and it’s argued that this should be a strategic priority for us here in the UK too, especially if we want to ensure the UK continues to be a global leader in the engineering field.
What Makes An Engineering Leader?
It’s all well and good saying that we need more engineering leaders – but what exactly does this mean? And what skills do such individuals actually need to succeed?
The Sheffield Engineering Leadership Academy (SELA) is the first engineering leadership programme in the UK of its kind, and covers all of the engineering disciplines. The programme is taking a very structured approach to these questions by identifying not only the skills they believe their students should possess now, but also those they will need to succeed in the future too.
Creative, proactive, enterprising – these are some of the key attributes they look for in the engineering leaders of tomorrow. But that’s not all that makes a good leader – these individuals need to possess good judgement and other key skills too, such as the ability to inspire others, and communicate their vision effectively.
It’s hard to argue with the statement that we are in need of more engineering leaders. But perhaps it’s not only at the undergraduate level that we should be trying to address this issue. Surely a scheme aimed at A-level students would also be of benefit?
Coincidentally, according to a recent article from the International Business Times(IBT),we may soon see the launch of a new initiative that could achieve exactly that. The IBT reveals that a new, dedicated A-level could make great strides towards redressing both the engineering skills gap and the gender imbalance in UK engineering.
The Royal Academy of Engineering has recently developed a draft specification for a devoted engineering A-Level. This would not merely cover traditional topics, such as machinery and woodwork, but also how to develop key skills such as creative problem solving. In this way, the course could potentially develop more engineering minds at a younger age and help to foster the engineering leaders of the future too.
Here at ICS, all of this is of great interest to us, as we regularly deal with many professional contractors in the engineering sector, as these individuals often take advantage of our contractor limited company service and umbrella solution. Hence, we are genuinely passionate about engineering, and are excited to see what the impact of these new initiatives might be, and how they could help to shape the engineering industry in the future.
In the meantime, if you’re one of the UK’s existing engineering contractors and have any questions or would like more information about our services, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our friendly team. Give us a call on0800 195 3750 today or chat to us online.