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Jon Belfield, President of the Building Controls Industry Associaon (BCIA), explains the importance of changing percepons of engineering as a career choice and highlights the need for increased diversity in the building controls sector.

any of you are aware that the engineering sector is suffering from a skills crisis. This can have a huge impact on achieving robust results for the buildings of today and tomorrow, while also having a knock-on effect on the UK’s economy. In fact, engineering, in general contributes £280bn to Britain’s economy and although businesses employ around 5.5 million people across the country, there is still a significant shortfall of emerging talent entering the building controls sector. According to a recent survey produced by the Manpower Group, engineering has the fourth highest talent shortage globally, and the main reason for this is the lack of available applicants and hard skills. This underlines how crucial it is to bring more diversity into our industry while upskilling our existing engineers in order to keep up with demand.

Reshaping percepons of engineering M

talent to our sector. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), revealed that the majority of children lack basic knowledge of what a career in engineering entails. In fact, engineering was the area of work that they know the least about.

and the BCIA recently became a partner of this government initiative which celebrates the wonders of engineering. It also aims to educate young people and their parents that engineering as a profession can be creative, prosperous and rewarding. Findings published by the Year of Engineering, stated that the UK industry is lacking diversity and estimated that the current engineering workforce is made up of 91% males. What’s more, the Women’s Engineering Society also revealed that the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe.

But this also offers a great opportunity for the engineers of the future and the Building Controls Industry is well placed to be part of this growth for skills. Our challenge is to all engage and attract these engineers to our sector.

2018 Year of Engineering

One of the ways we can achieve this is by taking the initiative in demonstrating that a career in our industry has many exciting prospects. The 2018 Year of Engineering campaign is doing just this

The building controls industry has many talented female engineers who are producing sterling work, but we need to encourage more. One of the many great examples of this is Abi Pullin, who has been shortlisted for the Young Engineer of the Year category at the BCIA Awards this year. This sets an excellent example for other women to follow in her footsteps and be inspired.

Emerging talent

It seems clear that the perceptions of engineering from an early age are crucial in determining fresh emerging


Although recent findings revealed an apparent lack of knowledge of the sector, research from Engineering UK found that young people’s perceptions of engineering have grown more positive over the past few years. The proportion of 11-16-year olds who would consider a career in engineering has risen from 40% in 2012 up to 51%. The same survey also revealed that the vast majority of teachers (96%) would recommend a career in engineering to their pupils, with three quarters of parents viewing a career in engineering positively. With this in mind, a few of my suggestions for the industry would be to target the younger generation over the year ahead; through open days in the workplace, trade shows, developing links with universities and colleges, visiting schools and educating pupils and their parents about the endless opportunities that a career in the building controls sector can bring. Perceptions are slowing changing – but we need to continue to work hard to steer our industry in the right direction to welcome more skilled and diverse young engineers.

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Findings published by the Year of

Engineering, stated that the UK industry is lacking diversity and esmated that the current engineering workforce is made up of 91% males.


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