Debating skills - Comment added
Process Engineering is to host a lunchtime debate, titled ‘Barriers to Training and Achievement’, during the PPMA 2012 exhibition at the Birmingham NEC.
The panel-led discussion, on 27 Sept, is unlikely to cover all the ground on this continuing problem, but will, at least, try to get to the heart of the issue.
To help set the agenda, we are asking readers to identify factors that prevent employers from raising skills levels across their workforce, and/or prevent employees from reaching their full potential.
(Please post an on-line comment in the panel below, or email email@example.com)
For my part, over recent years there has been much high-level discussion about the skills shortages in the process industries.
Suggested solutions to the problem have ranged from targeting of teachers, parents and children – in both primary and secondary schools – to the greater use of role models, such as CEOs who have started their careers as apprentices.
At a recent debate, one commentator even suggested that the engineering profession club together to sponsor a TV series – along the lines of LA Law and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which have, arguably, popularised the legal and forensic science professions, respectively.
As a further complexity, a University of Birmingham study of about a year ago found that, instead of skills shortages, many engineering graduates were struggling to find jobs in the UK.
While all these various views and inputs are of value, the very fact that industry continues to debate this matter suggests that little real progress is being made.
Missing, it seems, are agreed starting points from where to measure progress, as well as an agreed set of metrics to track progress going forward.
As every engineer knows,‘if you can’t measure it, you can’t control it.’