Design007 Magazine

PCBD-May2015

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62 The PCB Design Magazine • May 2015 negative public perception of the industry, job candidate salary and development expectations and continuous professional development op- portunities within the industry. Within the past few years, there has been a greater focus on encouraging young people into manufacturing and electronic industries, with the resurgence of apprenticeships and a greater push for organisations to work in unison with local government, business networks and education providers. There are many examples of areas where these initiatives have been successful, such as one lead by the UK Electronic Skills Foundation, a great ex- ample of where bridging the gap between employer and education providers has helped to promote the industry. Elec- tronics organisations from Cambridge held competitions for students in order to stimu- late interest and raise aware- ness of the electronics industry and its career opportunities. It is hoped that projects like these will gain momentum and be championed elsewhere. The shifting focus of schools towards engineering and manufacturing subjects has seen a rise in demand for engineering and technology degree courses. However, this does not seem to have had the same effect on applications for electronic engineering de- grees. Nor does it seem to have increased the number of people entering apprenticeships within the industry. A recent Young Enterprise survey of 28 UK blue-chip businesses found 75% of man- agers believed graduates entering the workforce did not possess the skills required. One of the areas that have been highlight- ed as a concern for the industry is the lack of opportunities once in electronics-based em- ployment. Many of these careers require a de- gree and have an entry-level starting salary of £18,000; this figure is £8,000 below the average starting salary for a graduate. It is also perceived that once in an electronics-based career, the op- portunities for growth and continuous develop- ment are more limited than other industries. And it's not just the employees that are missing out. This lack of training can have a major impact on businesses. An IDC study showed that without train- ing, employees only use an av- erage of 13% of the features in their software tools. This means that the other 87% of features available within the software are a wasted invest- ment if further training is not undertaken. The study also highlighted that electronics organisations were more likely to gain greater ben- efits from workforce train- ing due to the rate of change within the industry and the need for staff to be adaptable and update their skills. Training can be a crucial to successful development of projects, staff retention and innovation. But the trend seems to be that many com- panies have dramatically cut training programmes for new employees. In a recent survey of electronic design profes- sionals it was found that they felt there were insufficient opportunities for growth and development and that given the opportunity to undertake further training would be keen to do so. Continuous development is a critical ele- ment for the industry, and IPC is now expand- ing its training programmes to ensure the skills of the electronics industry are keeping pace with the industry. The Certified Interconnect Designer (CID) qualification seeks to enhance and improve the skills of individuals in the elec- tronics industry and provides delegates with the article ELECTRONIC DESIGN TRAINING CRuCIAL TO INDuSTRy GROWTH continues the shifting focus of schools towards engineering and manufacturing subjects has seen a rise in demand for engineering and technology degree courses. However, this does not seem to have had the same effect on applications for electronic engineering degrees. nor does it seem to have increased the number of people entering apprenticeships within the industry. " "

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