Manufacturing perception should be changed to help close skills gap

The skills gap in the UK manufacturing industry is going to widen unless the Government assists schools and universities in changing the perception of the industry to help attract young talent. That is the view of Nordell, a UK-based Plastic Injection Moulding and Extrusion company, who has witnessed the professional and cultural difficulties faced when Generation X is tasked with training Millennials and school leavers.

With so many more opportunities available to the young today and the extended education to ensure they get their foot on the right ladder, Nordell believes ‘lost manual trades’ have been forgotten and  no longer get the recognition they deserve. To alter this, the company believes that STEM careers need to be pushed harder to school students and by using high-profile entrepreneurs and engineers such as Elon Musk as inspiration, this will help change the approach schools use when discussing future careers in the classroom.

Emma Penn, Business Development Manager, Nordell Ltd says: “After all, it’s people that add value.  As a parent one of my biggest fears is my child not finding that one thing they are “good at”, they may not be academic in the sense of the education system by which they are graded and therefore they may find they do not understand where they fit in the world. Other parents within our industry who have come across the STEM coursework and homework struggle to find the pathway between curriculum and application of the knowledge into a clear career path.

“We believe it is imperative as a country, as a government, as schools and as parents we make a stand to ensure that the young talents are utilised in the various industries our great nation has to offer. Having witnessed first hand the professional and cultural difficulties faced when Generation X is tasked with training Millennials and school leavers.”

Nordell are urging more interest and focus on the attractive elements of manufacturing and related subjects such as tool making to change the perception that employees have lower pay in the manufacturing sector, and to refrain from telling students that if they don’t study hard, they will end up working in a factory. Emma adds: “It is important that all talents are recognised and have the opportunity to do something great with their skills and abilities, the children who show aptitude for STEM related subjects are aware of the industries to which they can put their skills to good use.

“Working within the manufacturing trade many of the great leaders engineers and those expert in the craft I have come across have almost fallen into the industry not by chance but because they didn’t fit the other holes to which they were trying to be pushed through “Square peg, round hole” however that has not stopped these inspiring people from making something of their skills and going on to prove those who told them they would not succeed wrong. As a parent I am glad I have an insight into the wonderful world of manufacturing and the possibilities which could await those very same “square pegs” that need to understand they do not need to completely conform to be able to do well.”

Nordell is proud to be waving the banner for British Manufacturing engaging with local colleges and partnering with Sigta on apprenticeships into the exciting world of industrial manufacturing in the 21st Century. Nordell will continue championing British Manufacturing including the sponsorship of Young Achiever for the Adur and Worthing Business Awards in 2019 and continued investment in apprenticeships within our business.