Digital Transformation is affecting the whole industry
There’s no doubt that engineering jobs are changing. Emerging technologies transform all business models and the way business is done across every industry.
In fact, more and more new roles are being created, and the level of skills and expertise are evolving very rapidly every day.
Back in July 2017, a CBI survey found that two thirds of UK businesses are concerned about finding enough people with the right skills, and that three quarters expect to have more job openings for people with higher-level skills in the coming years.
And in December 2017, the Institution of Engineering and Technology found that digital transformation of manufacturing, production and supply chains is forcing businesses to carefully consider the kind of jobs and skills they will need in future.
Every engineering company needs access to technical experts – but the pond is small
The need to have access to the best people is very familiar to our customers. Like many businesses, they recognise the rapid evolution of digital technologies and automation, and they constantly recruit great people with the skills and experience to anticipate advanced technologies.
However, with a growing STEM skills shortage, they find it difficult to recruit the sheer number of people and diversity of skills that they need, risking shortfalls when it comes to completing projects.
VINCI Energies’ solution to this challenge is to work closely with customers and partner with them in managing complex projects. Our teams have a deep understanding of their customers’ needs and processes and support them in completing work and driving business growth.
By working hand-in-glove, our Business Units can provide our customers with an additional resource of engineers and experts who specialise in integrating the latest technologies. Our customers in turn face less pressure to try to recruit from a small pool of STEM graduates, knowing that we’re there to support them.
Working together to boost STEM recruitment
Of course, this means that like everyone else we’re constantly seeking out the best and brightest to join our business. Not only that, we believe there’s more to be done to boost the level of people taking STEM subjects and graduating into engineering jobs – and we’re not alone.
In a response to the Government’s Green Paper on Industrial Strategy this year, the Royal Academy of Engineering highlighted the need for greater focus on digital skills across industry.
And it is well publicised that we also need more women and ethnic minorities graduates in engineering – figures show that just 15% of engineering graduates are female, while only 25% are from a BAME background.
Our approach is to put employees at the heart of our success and give our young graduates enough responsibility with the right support/mentoring to grow and thrive in the workplace.
All of our employees are closely involved in projects and interacting with customers from initial concept right through to completion, creating a feeling of responsibility and confidence across teams. We think that’s the way to help people develop a sense of purpose and a real affinity for the engineering world.
It’s an approach that works well. We’ve more than doubled the number of employees since 2010, and since 2015 brought a new Modern Apprenticeship Scheme, a Graduate Advancement Programme and dozens of internships opportunities within all of our business units. We have seen a considerable increase of apprentices, interns and graduates joining our teams – all fantastic additions to the VINCI Energies Group. But there’s still more we can do.
Every business can help to increase the number of young people who want to study STEM subjects at school and beyond.
VINCI Energies UK & RoI is a Business Partner for the WMG Academy and is commissioning a project which sees year 11 pupils working on a ‘design and make’ project that contributes 50% towards a GCSE Award in Systems & Control. On top of this, we offer students work placements, site visits and workshops covering engineering and automation.
As industry leaders, I think it is the responsibility of businesses, working with the government, to push and encourage youngsters to get involved in STEM disciplines. We need to show what the world of engineering is really about, break down stereotypes and misunderstanding, and make this sector more appealing than it is today.
Rochdi Ziyat is CEO of VINCI Energies UK & ROI.
If you’re interested in working at VINCI Energies UK & ROI or one of the businesses in our network, you can get in touch and find a list of vacancies here.