As EngineeringUK celebrates a decade of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, Dr Jon Hiscock, CEO at Fundamentals ltd discusses the importance of STEM skills in the energy sector and the most exciting engineering developments happening today. Lauryn Bailey, an apprentice engineer at Fundamentals also shares her experience.
Dr Jon Hiscock said: “As a society we are facing a number of global challenges. The energy crisis has sparked a renewed drive to move away from the reliance on oil and gas by embracing renewable forms of energy. All while, decarbonisation means unprecedented changes in the way that electricity is generated and consumed.
“As the pace of change picks up speed in the race to net zero, engineering will play a key role in enabling the UK power grid to adapt for a greener future. With this, comes a growing demand for skills in energy infrastructure and technology. In particular, areas such as artificial intelligence and digital communications will be crucial to handling the unprecedented changes in patterns of energy generation and demand.
“At the moment, the industry is still in the grips of a skills shortage. STEM subjects offer a valuable foundation for entering the industry. While vocational qualifications and technical training offer an education like no other and should be seen as a viable alternative to higher education.
“Ultimately, a career in engineering offers a valuable opportunity to specialise in areas that are vital to decarbonisation and delivering a sustainable future. But first we need to get the future generation excited about the prospect of technical careers and help them see the variety of opportunities available for career development.”
At Fundamentals, the structure of an apprenticeship is usually secondments in different departments before the apprentice decides on their preferred area. Alongside this, there is an academic element which is completed around the apprentice’s day job and can extend to achieving a full degree in engineering and technology. Lauryn Bailey, apprentice engineer at Fundamentals, discusses her experience.
Lauryn Bailey said: “The best thing about an apprenticeship is you realise just how many different jobs are open to you. I’ve gained valuable experience and knowledge from rotating through various engineering departments including operations, design, automated voltage control site installs, the workshop and product engineering. It’s given me an opportunity to learn what each department does, supported my personal development and evolved my skill set to help further my career now and in the future.”
After starting at Ridgeway Secondary School, Lauryn quickly moved to University Technical College, Swindon when she realised, she wanted to focus on engineering. In particular, electronics from a technical design and architectural perspective and she chose a more practical-based BTech over exam-based A-levels. At the end of college, having gained distinction stars in all three of her BTech subjects, Lauryn accepted a role as an apprentice engineer at Fundamentals. She joined in July 2018 and since then has completed a Level 3 NVQ in Engineering and Technology and is now studying for a degree in electrical and electronics engineering at Newbury College, which she is due to complete in 2023.