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© pelfophoto dreamstime.com Electronics Production | March 19, 2013

Electronics boss calls for more focus

David Davis, boss at EMS provider Axiom, calls for more focus on technology and innovation through apprentice programmes.
On Thursday 14th March, Axiom host an ESTnet open door event. The exhibition was a ‘one-stop shop’ for companies interested in setting up an apprenticeship scheme. Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert AM, also attended the event giving a short talk alongside a number of presentations from industry stakeholders, sharing knowledge and experience in working with apprentices.

Companies from all aspects of the ‘apprenticeship route’ from training providers such as, Coleg Morgannwg, Coleg Gwent, Bridgend College, E Skills, to Sector Skills Council, Semta along with large technology companies such as SPTS and International Rectifier, were also on-hand to share experiences and offer guidance and support.

Despite the electronic manufacturing industry showing signs of growth, the number of further or even higher education engineers entering the industry has been in decline for the last five years. The industry and its long-term sustainability depend on its ability to attract high calibre, innovative and creative students, and yet there is a current shortage of those applying for work within it.

Axiom currently has four apprentices on their program and has always supported the nurturing of talented young people via this route.

David Davies comments: “Success comes when we nurture talent at the grassroots level. The UK electronics sector is among the best in the world, but we need to attract the students back into the courses if it is to remain successful. The UK electronics manufacturing sector has been described as ‘indispensable’ to Europe’s economic future. In spite of this, there is an underlying challenge for the industry to produce skilled engineers of the future and attract qualified workers in other disciplines.”

Davies continues: “It is imperative that we do more to support and engage with our local further education colleges, and not ‘wait’ to be approached, it is our own sustainability that should drive the need. Apprentices will be key to our future sustainability, and most importantly the industry that Wales was built on.”

According to recent statistics, 83% of businesses that employ apprentices rely on their apprenticeship programme to provide the skilled workers needed for the future*.

The Deputy Minister for Skills, Jeff Cuthbert, said: “Apprenticeships are at the heart of business effectiveness. They increase the skill set of the workforce and make Wales a more attractive place with which to do business. This is why we strongly believe in apprentices and have a number of programmes in place to support them."

“I would love to see more businesses taking on apprentices and I hope that events taking place throughout Wales during Apprenticeship Week will raise the profile and esteem of apprenticeship programmes.”

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