Recruiting the next generation of engineers: How?

A respected industry manager makes some interesting comments recruiting new talent. Not into driving, but as engineers.

The challenge of finding these technicians dwarfs that of sourcing drivers, they say. Career paths for budding engineers are numerous. But it seems that coach and bus is seldom a sector that grabs their attention.

Perhaps that should not be a major surprise. The Institute of Road Transport Engineers is doing excellent work to promote the industry via its Skills Challenge, but also needed is a collaborative campaign to attract talent in the first place.

In a previous role, the manager passing comment founded a bus engineering academy. It worked well. Doing similar may be an option for large groups, but it won’t work for smaller operators, upon which the coach industry in particular is built.

Here is a radical thought: Is it time for a consolidated approach?

With news that a further coach operator has ordered zero-emission vehicles, and that more such deals are expected in the near future, there are signs that major change is coming to the engineering discipline.

That has already started in buses and it will accelerate when the fruits of Boris Johnson’s recently announced windfall start to appear at depots across England and Wales.

If those zero-emission vehicles, and those that are starting to permeate the coach sector, are to function at their best, there will need to be a rethink of how the industry goes about recruiting and training its engineers.

The silo approach may no longer work. It’s time for the sector to come together and look at the future of its collective engineering function.