Choosing The Right Path: What Career Options Are There For Problem-Solvers?
There have been many reports recently of a chronic skills shortage in both manufacturing and engineering. It’s essential that young adults going into further education are aware of their many options. Particularly if they are skilled problem-solvers.
These industries depend on a level of technical excellence and innovation to compete effectively. Here at Elmelin, we offer different thermal management and insulation solutions to ensure their processes and products are effective, efficient, safe and reliable.
When it comes to career options, there is a wide range of opportunities in manufacturing, technology and engineering sectors that suit people with a diverse set of skills.
How Problem-Solving Skills Can Be Developed Within A Job Role
Elmelin provides essential thermal management capabilities across a range of industries. These include aerospace, automotive, foundry and steel, consumer appliances and continuous process industries.
Terry Hughes, Managing Director of Elmelin, recently shared his experience of hiring someone from a different generation.
“Elmelin is a manufacturing business and we make products out of a material called mica. Mica is found all over the world and in many products we all use every day. So, someone has to make those products. Our workforce needs to be replenished and reskilled all the time. But where do we find good, technical people?
Around 24 months ago as we were interviewing for a job, a young man arrived to interview. He came to the interview in his tracksuit with the hood on. He sat through the whole interview with his hood on. This was a culture shock to me and my Production Manager. However, there was something about the young man that stood out and it was not the way he dressed. He was comfortable around technical problems and showed a great ability to solve puzzles.
We ended up hiring him and we have not looked back. He still dresses the same, however, he has developed into one of our best operators. His enthusiasm and ability lead him to be selected as the operator when we purchased a new machine.”
Here at Elmelin, we believe specialists in engineering and manufacturing are problem-solvers. This means having the right technical background and knowledge, but also an enquiring, analytical mind.
Engineers are responsible for the design, manufacture and maintenance of a huge range of things, from products to large-scale construction projects. They help transform technical advances into realistic, practical solutions.
Professional Problem-Solvers: Could Gamers and Lego Fanatics be the Answer?
Even though there are so many opportunities within the manufacturing and engineering industries, there is still a lack of new talent.
So, the question is, do these young adults who are skilled at solving problems realise their potential? Are you as their parent or teacher recognising problem-solving as their strength? And are you encouraging them to put it to good use?
Terry believes the answer could lie with gamers and Lego fanatics. Here, he talks about his own history with problem-solving and how it differs from that of the young adults today:
“I’ve puzzled over many months as to what we had that was different. I have looked through my own history to try and figure out why I landed where I did. And I think I have one potential answer… Gamers and Lego fanatics are at their core creative souls who long to solve problems.
When I was growing up, I spent my youth in my father’s workshop. I was privileged that way. I spent all my time solving problems. Why did this work and that not? How do we get this engine to start? Is it a fuel problem or an electrical problem? I realise now I was shaped by this and chose to engineer because I loved to problem solve. Today, children very rarely have this exposure.
Today, children have so many things to digest. However, most start out playing with Lego and building many fantasy and practical projects. They move from this onto simple electronic games and as the years go on, these games become more complex. The more complex the game the more complex the problem solving that is taking place.
So, next time your son or daughter asks if he can play Fortnite or another game on the PlayStation, realise they are learning. Perhaps one option open to them in the future is a promising career in engineering.”
Types of Opportunities for Problem-Solvers
Gamers and Lego fanatics who are skilled at solving complex problems and enjoy doing so have a whole world of opportunities available to them.
UCAS lists a wide range of degrees and other qualifications in engineering and technology.
If you choose an accredited engineering degree programme, once graduated you will have achieved part or all of the required knowledge to register as a professional later on. These professional registrations include an Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).
Typically, many graduates in engineering and technology go into manufacturing, professional scientific, technical work and construction.
There are also various flexible and combined course study options and placements as part of a sandwich course. Qualifications vary from BSc, BEng and Meng (Honours) degrees to HNC and HND certificates. Students may also study for a foundation certificate.
There is a range of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships available. These range from Intermediate and Advanced to Higher apprenticeships and degree-level.
Therefore, they have a potential appeal that goes wider than A-level students, including 16-year-olds and graduates. School-leavers can enter at Intermediate level and move on to Advanced, or they can enter after A-levels for a Higher apprenticeship. Alternatively, for those with higher grades, a Degree Level apprenticeship is available.
These apprenticeships cover areas such as electrical support and manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, electronic systems and mineral products technology.
A New Vocational Alternative
Recently, the Government announced planned locations for 12 new Institutes of Technology in England. These will offer a vocational alternative to universities while being based around existing colleges and universities. This is seen as tackling a perceived bias against vocational skills and aims to help close the UK skills and training gap.
Careers Resources For Problem-Solvers
There are several useful careers resources in engineering:
- Tomorrow’s Engineers – a programme led by the professional engineering community
- ICE – the Institution of Civil Engineers
- The Institution of Mechanical Engineers
- WISE – the WISE campaign campaigns for gender balance in science, technology and engineering.
If you’re a problem-solver with an interest in doing an apprenticeship at Elmelin, phone us on +44 20 8520 2248, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or complete our online enquiry form. We will be in touch with you as soon as possible.