“We have very large STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) ambassador networks where we spend our time going into schools to explain what engineering is and to promote the profession,” she explains.
IMechE runs a virtual work experience programme in the school holidays to help young people understand more about the areas of engineering they could work in. “Engineering isn’t just about cars and planes,” she adds. “Think about energy or electrification. We don’t just promote the traditional ways, but the new technologies.”
That will be music to the ears of one of our respondents, who said they were not just looking to recruit people with basic engineering skills. “We are adopting data analytics to determine the inspection frequency. We need people with competency between conventional engineering (mechanical, electrical, etc) and data analytics,” they said.
Other respondents emphasised the need to develop existing maintenance engineers as well as train new entrants. One said: “We need to train maintenance staff to be flexible in their skills and talents.” Others spoke of the importance of upskilling and developing new competencies.
Consultants Deloitte say recruitment and retention should be treated as a single process, from creating an attractive job profile for maintenance engineers when recruiting, to giving them recognition for the work they do and providing development to help them learn new skills.