Swansea is very much a city on the rise, with the recently approved city deal, and plans to redevelop the city centre playing a central role. The Swansea Central development, which will see the city centre overhauled, will be worth millions to the local economy, presenting a substantial commercial and social opportunity. It has been reported that the development will create 560 jobs under the construction phase of the project. The need for a talented construction workforce is therefore of major significance.
Tackling the skills shortage in the electrical and wider engineering services industry is critical to ensuring we can deliver important new infrastructure in Wales. The key to reducing this skills gap is to bring more young people into the industry – yet many are unaware of the great career opportunities which exist.
The ECA places great emphasis on highlighting the opportunities in engineering services. Our ‘Power Players’ initiative, for example, seeks to recognise some of the leading young people in our industry by showcasing their excellence and innovation. Recognition such as this can be incredibly powerful in encouraging other young people to pursue a future within the sector.
Wales is also home to SkillsCymru, a leading careers fair which showcases job opportunities for the 10,000 visitors who attend each year. The ECA is actively involved with the event, for the second successive year. As part of this, there will be a number of ‘hands on’ demonstrations of engineering-related tasks from partner organisations, which will help engage visitors with the array of employment and career opportunities.
In addition to the financial rewards, there is a long list of advantages to pursuing an engineering-based career. Communicating this to the next generation, who can help projects such as the Swansea Central development to get off the ground, is of vital importance for our region, its economy and the wider community.
Dave Kieft is ECA’s Wales spokesperson, and immediate past president of the ECA.