On October 5th a very enjoyable day was spent in The Wing at Silverstone manning the NMA stand at the MIA Jobs Fair. The NMA partnered with the MIA for this event for the first time as we passionately believe in the concept of applicants and companies meeting each other in less formal surroundings to size each other up before committing further (we also showed delegates how it was possible to earn a good Motorsport Engineering degree and be in employment at the same time!)
Have a look at that first picture – That was the Jobs Wall; it was rammed with real, now, actual positions. These companies are hoovering up skilled quality engineers at a massive rate to feed the insatiable appetite for better, faster, more reliable race technology.
Last year I blogged that there were 500,000 graduates of all types from Universities and UK racing businesses still could not get enough engineers – this year I went to talk to some of the exhibitors at the Jobs Fair and asked them about their recruitment plans, the qualifications needed, the experience needed and how that was shaping up with their ability to actually get these people. The answers to my questions surprised me – in both good and bad ways.
What are your current recruitment plans? – “We want more good people now”, “Ours is one of continual recruitment”, “We have vacancies in all departments”
What are the Qualifications needed for these positions? – “A good degree is a start”, “Masters as a minimum for this position”, “a good degree with lots of experience”, “experience, experience and some more experience plus sound academic qualifications on top”
What experience is needed? - “Relevant or comparable is the minimum but there must be plenty of it”, “Same work, same stuff, probably with one of our competitors frankly”, “no experience, no interview.”
Are you getting enough applicants? - “No, nowhere near”, “Applicants, yes but good applicants, no”, Do you have a good applicant mine nearby?”
Who is your ideal applicant? – “Professional, up to date, experienced and well qualified”, “good degree, good experience, good turnout and available now”, “probably working for XXX right now”
So what did I glean from my rather unsophisticated straw poll?
This ties in completely with what we are hearing from our prospective and starting students here at the National Motorsport Academy – namely; “if I want to progress I need to get this degree as no promotions either in my company or externally are available to me otherwise”, “I think that this degree will double my value as it validates over 15 years experience”
More than ever there is a growing gap between the “haves” and the “have nots” – and I do not mean money, I mean qualifications & experience.
As part of our title partnership of the Jobs Fair, NMA held two 30 minutes seminars about how a person can stay in the job they are in (and keep getting paid and adding to the experience) whilst earning a degree and giving themselves the best chance of career progression. Both were attended by some extremely keen and inquisitive delegates who could all see the benefits of staying in the jobs that they had taken so long to get; I believe there will be some cracking good new students in amongst them.
A change in timing for this Jobs Fair to 1pm opening and 7pm closing meant that it was getting good and dark with a lovely harvest full moon rising as the doors shut and the take down started. The chat amongst exhibitors afterwards indicated this had been a successful event for all, including the NMA. What they all added as an afterthought though…..”we still need more people”, “I didn’t fill all the positions I had to offer”
Now is a good time to be in the UK race business :)
Roger Grimshaw - NMA Tutor