Sir James Dyson has written an article in the Guardian about the need in his business, and in the UK generally, of more engineers. Almost 3 million UK engineering jobs will be unfilled in the next six years, and Dyson needs 100 engineers in their R&D labs. For him the problem appears to be one of education and appreciation.
“Yes, science is perceived as hard. But a bigger problem is that young people don’t know what a career in science or engineering offers. An engineer is not a man in greasy overalls or a harebrained oddball (though I have a soft spot for the latter). They are technologists, developing ideas to shape our future.”
Although Sir James tells a familiar story of Britain falling out of love with manufacturing and losing ground to China, India and other competitors, “countries that revere engineers”, he does end on a positive note.
“I want the biggest discoveries of the future to take place on our soil. We must build on the reputation of our world-class universities. That starts by feeding in the best young people from our schools. If we get it right we will fill our pipeline with highly skilled inventors, develop patentable technology and export it around the world.”
These issues, and the knock on effects for a dynamic, knowledge-based UK economy, were also voiced in Aldes’ fringe meeting in March, which you can read about here.