Skills and innovation: mind the gap – Michael Ayres

2017-05-22T16:47:21+00:00 March 3rd, 2016|Viewpoints|

Not long ago, the Engineering and Technology Board published a figure estimating that in 2014, the engineering sector contributed 27% of the UK’s GDP – that’s £455.6 billion. But while engineering is vital to our economy, we cannot take its future for granted. The industry faces well-documented skills gaps and as experienced engineers get older and nearer to retirement. It’s essential that a pipeline of talent is established and maintained.  Our industry is only as strong as our ability to attract creative and talented young people.

At Dearman, we’re developing cutting-edge technology with the aim of making the world a cleaner, cooler place. We recognised early on that in order to achieve our ambitions, we would need to bring the brightest and most talented people on board.

In 2011 there were fewer than a dozen Dearman employees, and now we number almost 70. From our first apprentice and recent graduates, to seasoned engineering and commercial specialists, we’re proud of the calibre of our staff across the business. Dearman will continue to grow, and to do so we’ll need yet more top-class candidates to bring into the business.

The adoption of new technologies such as Dearman’s could see dramatically improved air quality, energy security and resource efficiency across a range of industries. In fact, the development, manufacturing and distribution of revolutionary technologies such as these could create up to 10,000 new jobs in what is being called the ‘Cold Economy’. But for this major economic opportunity to be realised it requires effort to ensure that there are creative and capable people to take on those jobs, and take the industry forward.

At Dearman, we’re part of this clean cold revolution, but we’re also part of the drive to close the skills gap.

As developers of new technology, we have both the opportunity and responsibility to inspire and support the next generation of engineers, analysts, technicians, systems developers, and innovators. By securing investment and government funding, Dearman has not only been able to grow, but has also had the opportunity to engage with initiatives like the STEM ambassador’s programme.

Part of the STEM story has to be supporting promising new companies, and involving them in the process of engaging the workforce of tomorrow. At the same time, we need to be raising the profile of the UK’s burgeoning clean tech sector, and communicating the variety of employment and training opportunities that are available to the next generation. In doing so, the hope is that the industry as a whole will continue attracting the brightest and best talent, is enabled to continue growing, and that this in turn will propel the UK’s manufacture and engineering industries forward to a cleaner, more efficient future.