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A major mission of the BGA is to encourage and support the next generation of Engineers in the UK. When we speak with BGA Members a recurring concern is recruitment problems due to a significant skills gap in the UK. The BGA have agreed to work on a new initiative to: a) Identify skill shortages in the UK; b) Promote existing apprenticeships; c) Identify holes in current apprenticeships and create modules to cover the gaps; d) Offer BGA courses to training providers to cover the relevant modules; e) Find and secure any government funding for apprenticeships. We recently surveyed members to assess what apprenticeships programmes members already run and where there are recruitment gaps that could be helped with an apprenticeship programme.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our BGA Member Skills Shortage survey. Your input is invaluable as we move forward with our initiative to help fill the staff skills shortage problem that we have in the UK. We will be arranging a meeting with those interested in joining a task force over the coming weeks.

Please see below a snapshot of the results of the survey.

80 % of those surveyed are currently recruiting.

69% of those surveyed said they found it incredibly difficult to recruit qualified staff.

Of those who responded, finding qualified shop floor staff and recruiting new starters was particularly difficult.

Where are you having problems with recruitment?

Further comments not captured in the tick box survey:

“Shortage of gear cutters and gear grinders.”

“Skilled Gear cutting Operatives”

“Inspection (NDT, CMM programming)”

“Gear Manufacturing - across all manufacturing technologies such as grinding/honing and cutting processes (hobbing, shaping). Big gap in all areas of bevel gear technology and manufacturing.”

“We are struggling to recruit electromechanical test/development technicians and engineers”

“Automation engineers (PLC Programming), Robot Engineers, Senior Mechanical Designers - New Machinery Designs, Mechanical Detailing Engineers, Precision Mechanical Assembly Technicians, CNC Machinists Turning & Milling, Precision Cylindrical Grinders (non CNC), Precision Surface Grinders (non CNC), Gear Engineers (any), Senior Inspection Engineers (CMM & First Principles, 17025 etc)”

“More knowledge about manufacture of other gear types rather than just spur gears.”

65% of those surveyed currently run an apprenticeship scheme.

Almost unanimously those running apprenticeship programmes said there was very little or no provision for Gearing in current apprenticeship modules.

“They do not cover gear related subjects in their training. We use BGA courses to help in this.”

“We are missing hands on, gear cutting fundamentals through manual machining experience. Also worm/wheel and bevel understanding would benefit our apprentices.”

“The apprenticeship is purely shop floor engineering. We do not have a good option for a design apprenticeship, although would like to have one.”

“Gearbox strip, Inspection, Service & Problem Identification / Cause Identification. Gearbox trouble shooting.”

Of those who do not run apprenticeship programmes reasons included:

“Due to long time of training and uncertainty around retaining apprentices after training completes”

“Not big enough to spare training time.”

No shop floor to train apprentices

“Cannot afford to. Need a new employee to start on their own.

The feedback we get from our college attendees are that the tutors themselves are woefully under-experienced which in itself is a major problem - how can the uneducated teach?

“Not sure where to start & existing people need further development.”

84% of respondents would welcome help from the BGA to begin an apprenticeship programme.

68% of respondents are keen to join a BGA taskforce to address skills shortages in the UK.


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