Speaking with the structured network engineering businesses that we work with, it would seem that 2015 is going to be a good year. Things seem to have really have taken off with a bang in January and they are reporting that there is lots of work with order books filling up for the year. This is great news for the industry and it will be a welcome relief after the recession years.
But to meet the challenge of work, businesses are now struggling to find enough engineers to do the work. I was reading some interesting articles from last year that were making predictions for the industry and many seem to be coming true. An interesting article published last year by Changing Careers noted that that of all of the businesses in the IT and telecoms sector that 10% have skills gaps and are suffering from a lack of applicants. They suggest that there will need to be at least 500,000 new professionals joining the sector in the next 10 years.
These findings were backed up in an article in Datacentre Dynamics who interviewed Roger Keenan, the MD of City Lifeline, who stated “Cloud computing and fiber optic communications are growing at an explosive rate and need far more staff”
What can be done?
So what can the structured network industry do about this potential crisis and how can businesses deal with the impending staff and skills shortage that could leave them short of fulfilling their order books? The simple answer is to invest in the future and the best way of doing this is to take on apprentices. Other industries have well established apprentice programmes that help them meet potential shortages. The only way into some industries is to be a time served apprentice. Take electricians or motor vehicle technicians as an example – there is only one route to these industries – complete an apprenticeship. The same should be in place for structured networking, it is after all, the Fourth Utility and the demands on it will only continue to grow. Homes and businesses want to upgrade to fibre networks as the need for faster connection rises. How many businesses have now moved to the cloud? Use online software? Use online conferencing? How many homes now stream TV, play multiplayer games, download movies and music?
What are the benefits of apprentices?
- Increased productivity
- Reduced staff turnover
- More motivated workforce
- Greater staff loyalty
- Increased competitiveness
- Reduced costs
What are the costs of hiring an apprentice?
Well it’s good news! The costs of taking on an apprentice are very low. All of the training is free, the minimum wage for an apprentice is £2.73 and hour and there is currently a government grant of £1500 available to businesses who recruit an apprentice.
The only thing you will need to do as an employer is make sure the apprentice works with a skilled engineer who they can learn from and give the apprentice time to attend fibre and copper courses.
What are the next steps?
Please contact us and we will guide you through taking on an apprentice. It is a really simple process and we can provide the support you need to make it a success.