ART in Industry challenges perceptions

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ART in Industry challenges perceptions

~ Best practice sharing forum of EIIL members and industry association representatives discover common concerns for Attracting and Retaining Talent ~

EIIL corporate members from the construction, chemicals, plastics and industrial gases sectors met with six industry association representatives in Brussels late last month for an industry best practice sharing forum. The first ART in Industry workshop focused on the common issue of attracting talent to a career in industry.

The workshop followed the EIIL research masterclass format with two discussion cycles featuring short, impulse inputs from participants. This was followed by facilitated group discussions focused by a theme question, then summarized to the plenary session by the EIIL coaching team to complete each cycle.

Steve Price of the EIIL contrasted highlights from the EIIL’s 2006 – 2008 Shortage of Engineers survey and conference programme with findings of its 2013 Leading the Connected Generation research. Discussions identified significant developments in the period between the two studies. These included the acceleration of the widening gap in skills and technology between what is taught at university and what is required in industry, and the need for improved knowledge transfer in companies to keep up.

Also discussed were the issues surrounding selling a career in industry to Generation C. They want a career where they see how they contribute to the big picture of a company. Similarly important is how this in turn fits into the bigger picture of contributing to global big issues and solving societal problems.

The day’s final session reviewed the format, with participants describing it as “fantastic,” and “innovative,” with “really rich discussions,” and finished by agreeing on follow up meetings. Future workshops will cover retaining talent, the ageing workforce and Workplace 2020.

“There is an oft-quoted statistic that 65% of children in schools today will be doing jobs that don’t yet exist,” said Steve Price, Executive Director of the EIIL. “We don’t know what the future opportunities in industry are yet, we can only tell you about today, and this is an obstacle for many young people. Challenges and opportunities for technical talent in industry will change, but they will almost certainly be exciting. We need to better promote this excitement to win the interest of Gen C.”

“Fundamental changes in the teaching of STEM subjects are required of the education system to promote the excitement of a career in industry.” said Nathalie Debuyst, Project and Communication Manager at the Euro Petrochemical Association (EPCA). At the event, Debuyst presented a series of videos on the need for industry role models. “Engineers with an appreciation of problem-solving, processes, structures and flows can be found in banking, finance, HR and medical roles. Exciting possibilities are open to those with the transferrable skill-set obtained through studying for an engineering degree. Without credible role models these possibilities aren’t visible to young people, and that’s a problem we need to solve.”

The next ART in Industry Consortium meeting will take place on June 1st and will aim to identify and share good practices on the related theme of retaining talent. To register or join this working group please contact [email protected]

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