The difficulty of attracting young people to careers in manufacturing and engineering was described today at the CIPD talent management conference in London.
But Tim Hopkinson, managing director of power and nuclear industry supplier Hargreaves Ductwork, set out how the Bury-based company has overcome the perception of engineering as “a dirty career”.
The long-established firm was very proud of its background, having employed “generations for generations” of families, but had found it “extremely difficult” to engage local young talent to meet anticipated new infrastructure business in 2019.
“We went out to schools and engaged in projects and ultimately brought them into our business to develop nothing more than some interest in becoming engineers, not just for our business but for industry in general.”
Some of the ideas in the projects created by schoolchildren under the Hargreaves Engineering Young Talent Programme had been phenomenal, he said. “They are bringing ideas into our business that we never even thought of.”
Part of the problem in recruiting apprentices had been that local colleges stopped providing courses in engineering because of the lack of applicants.
Now local children were leaving school looking for a college course that could lead to a career in the engineering industry, he said.
The CIPD conference continues today.