Industrial Technology - Linked-in Industrial Technology - Twitter Industrial Technology - News Feed
Latest Issue

Overcoming the challenges of recruitment in engineering

Overcoming the challenges of recruitment in engineering

Engineering UK, an independent, not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to promote the contribution that engineers and engineering make to the UK, have recently published Engineering UK: The state of engineering. Whilst 5.6million people in the UK are employed in engineering (19% of the UK’s total workforce), Engineering UK reports that developing the pipeline to address the skills needs of the engineering sector remains a key challenge.

It estimates that 124,000 Level 3+ core engineering roles will be required to be filled every year for the next 10 years, against a backdrop of 46% of engineering employers reporting difficulty in recruiting. In a separate article published by Randstad, a recruitment agency, on a list of all engineering fields within the EU reporting difficulties in finding and recruiting the right calibre of staff, mechanical engineers are ranked seventh.

Reliance Precision is no stranger to this, admitting that with the specialist nature of its work, finding engineers with the appropriate skills and knowledge is not always easy. Engineering UK concludes its report by stating that to address the severe skills shortage in engineering, the industry must effectively harness the talent pool of young people.

Reliance has long recognised this and has been working for many years to support and engage with young people in the local community. A longstanding independent family-owned business, it prides itself on operating with the same family values and principles its founder, Max Selka, instilled when he established the business back in 1955. His vision then was to provide employees with an opportunity for personal growth and development alongside enjoyable, rewarding and interesting work.

Still a prominent core value within the business today, the family includes within the company’s business plan a statement reinforcing the commitment to the company values and principles. Family member Charlotte Brandes, chair of the holding company, explains “It is important that the family continues to uphold the values that Dad instilled in Reliance. His personal values and ethics complemented his commercial vision, and he was also a great mentor.

“We recognise we are a knowledge rich engineering business and as a family we feel a responsibility to nurture, feed and grow it,” she continues. “We believe in helping to develop the talent of the future through our established initiatives, the Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme being one example. This was introduced to provide young people with an opportunity to start a career in engineering, enabling them to gain their core foundation skills and then providing them with access to various roles throughout the business. Over 60 years later it’s still going strong, with over a quarter of our workforce apprentice trained.”

Reliance now typically takes on six apprentices a year and has achieved its goal of 10% of the workforce in apprenticeship, enabling the company to meet requirements for new skills, replace retirees and facilitate growth. Charlotte adds: “We continue to recognise the benefits the business can gain from bringing young people in, even on a short-term basis such as a student work experience placement. They come with enthusiasm and energy, and in an ever-changing and developing technology-led world, they bring new techniques and knowledge. In return we can offer them a taster of a commercial, working environment that often helps shape their future career path.”

Reliance has relationships with many universities, locally and nationally, offering students the opportunity of a placement during their degree course or gap year. These can prove very beneficial to students, allowing them to put their academic learning into practice in a real working environment. In fact in some instances, this can lead to them securing permanent employment at the end of their studies.

One such instance is a Cambridge undergraduate engineer who came to Reliance on a summer placement recently. Reliance technical director, Ian Laidler explains: “He was literally thrown in at the deep end, working alongside the engineering team supporting them during our main holiday period. He returned to Reliance to do his second year placement, and with the knowledge he’d gained over the previous summer, was perfectly placed to pick up and run with some of the smaller projects with some guidance. We were incredibly impressed by his ability and what he brought to the business and consequently decided to sponsor his final year project. I am delighted that he has now taken up a permanent role at Reliance as a design engineer.”

Whilst many of the placement opportunities are focused around engineering students, Reliance are keen to ensure they don’t miss out on the non-engineering talent also.

The recent appointment of a graphic designer into the Marketing Team was the result of a successful placement from The University of Huddersfield. The student, who spent the third year of her BA in graphic design at Reliance, impressed the team with her design skills and the fresh approach she brought, and having kept in touch during the final year of her studies, was offered a full-time position.

Reliance has also worked hard over the years to develop strong links with local schools and colleges. Whilst this is predominantly to promote the Apprenticeship Training Scheme, the company is also keen to highlight the opportunity of undertaking a summer placement. These short placements provide young people with a taste of working life and are often instrumental in helping them make decisions about their future career path. One such example is 17 year old Sam Mannion, currently studying A levels at Huddersfield New College. Sam, unsure about what he wanted to do in the future, but recognising the benefits having some work experience under his belt would provide, contacted Reliance to see if they would let him spend his summer holidays working there. Over the course of the summer he worked in the sales and compliance teams, before spending his final two weeks documenting engineering components for a new tooling system in the operations team.

Download pdf

Other News from Reliance Precision Ltd

Reliance enhances its gear shaping capabilities with state-of-the-art CNC electronic shaping machine

Latest news about Machine Building

Additional Information
Text styles