This is a question the UK Electronics Skills Foundation has asked in order to understand why the sharp decline in the numbers of UK Students accepting places on Electronic Engineering courses.
Part of the reason is the perceived idea that they can earn more money and respect by working in say IT or the Sciences. I tend to think the issue is more around the fact that many people assume that everything electronic is made in China.
So how can we address this? The UKESF’s approach is to raise awareness in schools of the value of electronics to society and the economy. In short going out these engaging with young people and telling them in electronics there is a great career for you and you will get the chance to do great things and change lives.
What’s more the USESF is finding placements in electronics companies for undergraduates so they can see first hand that there are companies that are doing some pretty exciting things right now.
Derek Boyd, chief executive of the UK Electronics Alliance, is a UKESF board member. "The UKESF launched at the beginning of 2010. Since then, we have been formalising agreements with agencies, founding partners, the IET and the Engineering Development Trust. There has been significant development work, with a website now up and running (www.ukesf.org).
Promotional material can be downloaded and this is finding its way into the industry. "While we are seeing growth in recognition, we have a growth plan for UKESF and are confident the model will scale to offer companies both quantity and quality."
My personal message is to start promoting your industry right now, do what you can by engaging with the locals schools get young people in on work experience and go speak at school assemblies.
Finally the next time your in a social situation and asked what you do, well you say I work in electronics manufacturing and were changing the world into a better place baby!