Business skills needed to boost European students

Business skills needed to boost European students

Business news |
By eeNews Europe

Executives from leading electronics firms came to Bristol last week to advance the business skills of the brightest electronic engineering undergraduates at UK universities, a third of whom are from EU countries other than the UK.
Hosted by the University of Bristol, the five-day Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF) Summer Skills Workshop works with UKESF scholars are the best prepared for a career in the UK electronics industry by adding business awareness and understanding to the technical skills. “These are the next generation leaders in our industry,” said Wendy Daniell, the course co-ordinator.
Shortages in key business skills was highlighted as one of the biggest hurdles to achieving future industry growth. Highlighting the demand for these key skills, senior management from ARM, CSR, Dialog Semiconductor, Imagination Technologies, Jaguar Land Rover, NVIDIA, Toumaz Technology and XMOS actively participate in the workshop. Seminars on project management, business ethics, negotiation and emotional intelligence feature on the course for the 40 scholars attending, who are sponsored by 13 companies.
The recent ESCO report highlighted that the £78 billion industry, which employs 850,000 people, can grow by 55pc before the end of the decade but addressing the skills issue is critical to achieving this, with the report stating: “Undergraduate and graduate skills remain a subject of continued debate and complaint where employer feedback criticises the quality of output from higher education … there are concerns in relation to employability and work readiness.”
“In order to address the UK electronics skills gap, industry, academia, government, sector skills councils and trade associations need to work together to encourage engineering undergraduates to take up roles in the sector,” said UKESF chairman, Indro Mukerjee. “This workshop is testament to the commitment of senior figures in the industry to support the next generation of engineers, and promotes the value of CPD for future industry growth.”
“We undertake cutting edge R&D to deliver the most advanced mobile communications technology and we therefore look to take on the very best people,” said Steve Allpress, vice president and CTO for modem development at Nvidia in Bristol. “By engaging with UKESF and supporting our undergraduates through work placements and the workshop programme, we not only reach more of the brightest students at an early stage, but we can also ensure that they will hit the ground running when they join us as graduates.”
“Bristol produces many of the engineering industry’s leaders and being part of UKESF helps us place more of our students with world-class companies to gain vital industry experience. These workshops further enhance this experience with essential, albeit non-academic business skills. Employer support for the UKESF also demonstrates the demand for graduates in the sector, which has helped us attract more students to our degree programmes," said Professor Andy Nix, head of electrical and electronic engineering, at the University of Bristol.
The workshop was designed, and is delivered in partnership with Semta, NMI, the IET and industry partners and includes a presentation competition covering various industry scenarios. The competition was judged by executives from Jaguar Land Rover, Dialog, ARM and a co-founder of CSR.
The Disaster Management scenario saw a fabless semiconductor company that suffers a critical fire in one of their main subcontractor’s assembly plant. The team has to develop a set of approaches to deal with this from day one to conclusion and follow-up. They have to present their approaches with justifications.
Another project was to investigate the launch of an own brand product for a leading IP company. Team had to conduct SWOT analysis taking into consideration political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental considerations. Have to present conclusions and recommendations.
Another scenario saw teams developing a range of products around Imagination Technology’s recently launched Flow technology.
The winning team (pictured, above) covered the disaster management well with a thorough analysis and creative and effective presentation of the solution, but all the projects demonstrated the need for more business awareness.
The UK Electronic Skills Foundation was formed in 2010 to increase the number of talented electronics engineering graduates entering the industry. Its creation was in response to industry concerns and followed a significant (44pc since 2002) decline in UK applicants for electronics degrees, which threatens the performance and long-term prospects of the industry.

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