An initiative to make wireless communications technologies more popular among schoolchildren and students has been launched in the UK in an attempt to address the continuing skills shortage in engineering.
It is a skills initiative by the UK Electronics Skills Foundation educational charity in partnership with the Radio Communication Foundation (RCF).
Sir Martin Sweeting, chairman of the RCF Board of Trustees, commented:
“RF engineering is a vital enabler of today’s economy. Against a background of a shortage of RF engineers, the RCF is delighted to be working in partnership with the UKESF to encourage undergraduate interest in this field.”
A competition to promote RF engineering will be open to students at UKESF partner universities who complete RF and communications-related final year projects. It will launch with the support of some UKESF company partners ahead of the next academic year, with details to be published later in the spring.
In the last five years the UKESF has been developing industry initiatives to address the overall decline in the number of British students applying and registering for Electrical and Electronic Engineering degrees.
By 2020 it is anticipated that the UK electronics systems industry will generate an additional 150,000 highly skilled jobs to support the industry.
Whilst there has been a rise in demand for engineering and technology courses since 2002, there has been a 26% drop in UK-based applicants to electrical engineering courses between 2002 and 2013.
“We recognised that we had a number of shared objectives with the RCF and we think that working together will help us have a greater impact in these areas,” said Stew Edmondson, UKESF CEO.