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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

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Engineering your way to a better future

I WAS looking at an engineering recruitment website the other day and guess how many job vacancies there were for engineers in the UK? 1000? 5000? 10,000? Keep going – there were over 20,000 jobs advertised on that site alone! So there are plenty of opportunities either locally, nationally or even internationally, provided you have the right skills.

The regional economic strategy for the north west (produced by the North West Development Agency) highlights the need to “increase the number of people studying higher level skills in science, engineering and technology” because “innovation in technology and process development is key for competitive capability”.

If West Cumbria is to thrive then we need innovative businesses run by innovative people who have the right skills to develop new products and services.

Look at the growth of the Indian economy. Ten years ago India had very low paid science and technology workers.

As a country, they have shown, that by taking some sensible steps to develop an economy that utilises engineering and technology expertise they have been able to dramatically grow the economic wellbeing of India and their people.

So why is there is a shortage of skilled engineers in our area even though there are plenty of jobs out there?

Well, there are a number of factors such as a year on year decline in the number of students choosing to study engineering, an aging workforce of technicians, craftsmen and graduate engineers and the poor profile of engineering as a career; there is a perceived lack of career progression into general management and it is still seen as a predominantly male environment.

So what are the benefits of studying and working in engineering? Choosing engineering means opting for a profession in which demand is constantly rising. Computer science, biomedical research, aviation and telecommunications are, in particular, rapidly developing fields.

In West Cumbria we also have the development of the ‘energy coast’ concept which will call for engineers in existing sectors like nuclear and newer sectors like wind power.Don’t just take my word for it – here is what Guy Kawasaki, venture capitalist and one of the founding fathers of Apple has to say on the subject; “Engineering schools beget engineers. Engineers beget ideas. And ideas beget companies. End of discussion.”

At Lakes College we have a broad range of engineering qualifications, at a variety of levels all the way through to Foundation Degree, which we intend to develop year on year to take advantage of the opportunities which this sector can offer to local people and business. If you would like some advice and guidance call on 01946 839300 or email us on info@lcwc.ac.uk.

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