Job creation and retention are always at the forefront of peoples minds, whether they can influence a situation or not. Politicians use it as a stepping stone, business leaders recognise it as a significant risk to any sectors sustainability and educators know that they need to do something but in certain cases the disconnect between the world of work and education creates stumbling blocks. We see predictions around what jobs won’t exist in 5-10 years and hear of the jobs that don’t exist yet but soon will. We know that technology is leaping forward with more utilisation of ‘smart’ systems at home and work and electrification of anything that moves but have no idea where it will all end up. Education must be at the forefront of all of this and we need to focus our youths attention on where we will be and not where we are now, hence the importance of STEM and our engagement as business people with our schools, colleges and universities to support their promotion of these subjects into the next generation.

When I sat in my ‘computer’ lesson in the 80’s I could never have imagined that I would put in my back pocket a small. thing touchscreen device that could literally control almost every aspect of my life from controlling my home, business activity and banking through to photography, gaming and personal non-verbal messaging. Even science fiction wasn’t close and it really wasn’t that long ago (or at least thats how it seems). At Engineering & Manufacturing Network’s recent conference we discussed our sectors journey into digital and much of the concern revolved around onboarding of staff and training. Where are you in this journey, are you on the train or waiting at the station unsure of which platform to go to (nice tech joke there). No matter what part of the engineering or manufacturing sector we work in we need to ask where we are and where we are headed. We need to look at our people and identify gaps in skills to help us on our journey and work with our educators to fill these either by upskilling or bringing in new talent. If you can share your journey with your local schools & colleges then please engage with them, they need your support! Find out what they are doing for the next generation and where you can help.