The data on graduates and destinations after completing their studies is stark: figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows there were 377,032 university graduates in the UK in 2019/18. Of these, just 778 (0.2 per cent) went into the chemical industry. Yet there were 6,688 graduates in chemistry or chemical, process and energy engineering (which covers all aspects of chemistry and engineering, including bio/organic, pharmaceutical, chemical, polymer, oil and gas, and so on). Of these, just 211 (3 per cent) went into chemicals after graduation.
The consequences of this are just as concerning: a recent survey by Make UK – which represents manufacturers across the country – found 66 per cent of companies are currently struggling to fill their vacancies.
So how can employers address these gaps through their early talent pipeline now and in the future?
The two most common problems employers cite when it comes to their recruitment difficulties are a lack of candidates applying for roles and a lack of skills in those candidates. Industrial placements help address both these problems, regardless of the size of the employers or the area of the business affected.
Recruiting candidates part-way through their higher education for a year is an important investment in your future talent pipeline and will benefit the wider industry. Not only will the student gain valuable, first-hand experience of working in your business, you will also be able to equip them with both the technical and ‘soft’ skills which will be vital on graduating and entering full-time work.
As the skills lead for the UK science and technology sector, Cogent Skills is uniquely placed to support you as an employer throughout this process – we work with you to recruit candidates, train them throughout their placement, and take care of the HR and other administrative duties on your behalf.
Through our well-developed and industry-leading training, we can ensure your placement students are equipped with the technical, green, digital and other skills they need to take on the range of rewarding roles available across your business.
In addition, Cogent Skills will give your placement student access to our range of short courses on important subjects such as emerging technologies, green skills, industry inductions – helping ensure they can add value into your business and are well-equipped to meet the skills needs of the future workforce.
A year in an industrial setting can be not only a beneficial experience for the employee, it can also be a highly effective way of increasing the talent pool within the industry and helping employers future-proof their workforce.
For more information, contact Cogent Skills’ Sales Manager Stephen Foreman