Diversity in engineering: It’s time to level up

This article first appeared in IET Partner News – Winter 2020

The pandemic has forced almost all organisations to drive a digital transformation agenda, taking weeks to do what in the past they thought would take years. But as we need to address economic challenges and market volatility, the smart ones know that they need to continue this momentum.

This isn’t just a qualification issue; for instance, having people with the latest engineering degree is only part of the story. It’s about hiring people with the right blend of academic background, professional qualifications, technical expertise and soft skills. Plus, ambition and resilience. We call this being ‘work ready’.

The IN4.0 talent academy, part of IN4.0 Group, is already working with a number of employers in the North West region who are already benefiting from ‘work-ready’ graduates to help undertake industrial projects and drive digital transformation within their businesses.

IN4.0 runs a 12-week specialist digital skills training programme, which acts like a bonus term for graduates to build on their academic achievements. Once students complete the course, they will be qualified Amazon Cloud Practitioners and members of the IET.

The programme was awarded funding from the Fast Track Fund, in partnership with the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS), the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA). According to the Office of National Statistics, only 12% of women work in the engineering sector and only 17% work in technology in the UK. While those from a BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) background are less likely to be in positions of responsibility.

The only way we can ensure our promising graduates from the most diverse backgrounds reach their full potential and become the leaders they aspire to be is by supporting them, not just in the future, but right now when they actually need help.

We are at real risk of widening the digital skills gap in industry as 61% of employers offering work experience placements
have had to cancel, and 39% of graduate employers say they expect to hire fewer graduates or none at all in the next 12 months, in a report from the Sutton Trust. IN4.0 aims to address the digital skills gaps across Lancashire and Greater Manchester by working with employers to recruit digital talent from diverse backgrounds, creating inclusive opportunities for those who may not otherwise have access.

With this in mind, IN4.0 saw an opportunity for the talent academy to readdress the challenge of diversity, and to empower graduates with the technical expertise and soft skills they need to enter the workplace with confidence. In the first cohort of the academy, 50% are women, over 50% of the graduates are from a BAME background, and over 25% are the first generation of their family to attend university.

Tom Russell from Bentley Motors agrees we need to look ahead, and said: “Businesses need to focus on rebuilding their talent pipelines and preparing for the future. The IN4.0 talent academy has amazing talent that industry should be harnessing.”

While the next year will continue to be challenging across all sectors, businesses that can access diverse, ‘work ready’ graduates with a combination of technology and engineering skills have the highest chance of thriving.

Our talent can provide instant project support and we have a range of flexible recruitment options available, including permanent recruitment and a contractor model. Employers in the North West who are interested in accessing digital talent to support the development of their businesses are welcome to get in touch with the IN4.0 team at: info@in4group.co.uk

IN4.0 Group and the IET collaborate to sponsor and develop emerging engineering talent

IN4.0 Group and The IET are delighted to announce their formal partnership as IN4.0 joins over 100 SME businesses in the UK as an IET Enterprise Partner. IN4.0 Group is an industry 4.0 training, recruitment consultancy and digital transformation services provider based at The Landing at MediaCityUK and the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

Following the success of IN4.0 and IET working together on IN4.0 access in 2019, this new partnership will allow for even more collaboration, providing opportunities for both sides to grow and expand their networks and spheres of influence. The partnership will see the organisations working together on the IN4.0 talent academy, a fast-track graduate recruitment and development programme.

As part of the academy, graduates will benefit from their first year of membership to the IET, putting them on the path to achieving their IET chartered engineer status. With a focus on cloud and digital skills, the academy reflects a shared interest on both sides to both broaden the perception of engineering and the nature of the profession.

Mo Isap, CEO and founder of IN4.0 Group, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with the IET on our talent academy, which in a post-Covid world is more important than ever before. We look forward to welcoming the IET to the wealth of diverse talent and potential we have in the North West and are excited about the opportunity to work together to deliver the next generation of engineers.”

Matthew Barber, IET Senior Partnership Account Manager, said: “We are delighted that IN4.0 Group have joined the IET’s Enterprise Partnership. This partnership, especially on the IN4.0 talent academy will provide a career progression route to young professionals from all backgrounds, beginning their engineering journey which is aligned to the Engineering Councils UK-SPEC framework and professional qualification.”

Both the IET and IN4.0 Group share a great desire to empower future leaders which creates the perfect template for both organisations to succeed in delivering an industry leadership programme across the North West region.