LONDON — The UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF) has been set up to address the threat of diminishing skills in the UK electronics sector. The foundation aims to increase and sustain the supply of industry-ready graduate engineers and boost career take-up in the sector.
UKESF is a collaboration of public bodies, private companies and leading UK universities and has been launched with initial start-up funding from founder partners National Microelectronics Institute (NMI), BIS (Department for Business Innovation and Skills), SEMTA (The Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies), ARM, Cambridge Silicon Radio, Dialog Semiconductor and Imagination Technologies. Founder university partners are Bristol, Edinburgh, Imperial College, Southampton and Surrey.
The organiszation has three initial areas of focus. It will encourage electronics employers to engage with schools in order to raise awareness of the sector and the variety of career opportunities it offers.
It will organize electronics summer schools to attract school students towards studying for electronics engineering degrees and careers in Electronic Engineering.
The UKESF is also setting up a scholarship scheme, accessible to small and large companies, to link undergraduate students with electronics companies for work experience and to encourage progression into careers within the sector.
Within five years it aims to have 80 participants p.a. (16-17 year olds) on summer schools, each year have 1600 pupils of all ages reached through employers engaging with schools and have 160 new undergraduate scholarships each year.
It plans for its initial four sponsoring companies to increase to over 100 sponsoring companies and have over 50 companies engaging with schools. while the number of partner universities across England, Scotland and Wales doubles to ten.
“The dramatic decline in the numbers of electronic engineering graduates will present the country with a long term issue if left unchecked,” said Derek Boyd, CEO of the National Microelectronics Institute. “We’ve identified the underlying problems in the existing skills pipeline which undermine the future prospects of the industry and UKESF has been created to tackle the major issues. Its goal is to ensure that the sector is supplied with the quality of talent to enable it to continue to be innovative, competitive and able to provide high-value jobs to support the wider economy.”
Indro Mukerjee, Chairman and CEO of C-MAC MicroTechnology and Chair of SEMTA’s Electronics Sector Strategy Group added “It has taken a lot of hard work and collaboration to get UKESF off the ground and I now look forward to it becoming an integral part of the UK electronics scene. The foundation has set itself realistic goals yet to achieve them more private enterprises need to support it. Forward looking electronics companies need to sign-up to the UKESF programme and help address what is a national concern of strategic importance.”
Estimated to be worth £23 billion a year, the UK electronics industry is currently the fifth largest in the world. The UK sector employs about 250,000 people in 11,500 companies1, with design accounting for 52,500 engineers across 5,200 sites. T
The UK the European leader in independent electronics system design, making up approximately 40 percent of the market.