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Recruitment and retention on agenda at industry conference

Posted on 01 Apr 2024. Read 743 times.
Recruitment and retention on agenda at industry conferenceDavid Land, chairman of EMN

The challenges of recruitment and retention in the engineering and manufacturing sector will be tackled head-on at an industry conference in Newcastle upon Tyne at the end of the month. Engineers and Manufacturers Assemble - Recruitment and Retention — organised by membership organisation Engineering and Manufacturing Network (EMN) — will take place on 26 April at apprenticeships and training provider TDR Training’s headquarters at Quorum Business Park.

The event will focus on how engineering and manufacturing companies can more effectively recruit and retain staff, build a skilled workforce and address the challenges of unfilled vacancies, which can stunt business growth. Expert speakers will be sharing their insights into STEM learning, early stage school engagement, apprenticeships, recruiting from hard to reach groups, company culture, overseas recruitment, professional development, succession planning and skills displacement.

Developed from the strong engineering and manufacturing heritage of County Durham, EMN is now a long-standing cross-sector network dedicated to building and strengthening the whole of the North East England’s engineering and manufacturing community, from SMEs to multinationals. Its membership stretches across the region.

Engineers and Manufacturers Assemble – Recruitment and Retention is aimed at people working across engineering and manufacturing businesses and it is open to both members and non-members of EMN.

Confirmed speakers at April’s conference include Liam Hunt, managing director of Ambic Manufacturing; Paul Lackenby, head of sales and commercial at Altec Engineering; Shirley Spoors, production manager at Akzo Nobel; Amy Sergison, partner at Muckle LLP; and Phil Atkinson, managing director of BTS Facades and Fabrications. More speakers will be announced soon.

Recruitment and retention challenges

The event will feature question and answer sessions, enabling engineering and manufacturing personnel to explore recruitment and retention issues further, and will also include breakfast, lunch and networking.

Ailsa Anderson, director of development at EMN, said: “This is a real opportunity for engineers to talk to other engineers, and to hear firsthand from their peers about what can be done to relieve the recruitment and retention challenges which the sector faces on a day to day basis. Recruiting people with the right skills, retaining experienced staff and ensuring businesses have the necessary expertise to function are all major talking points for many of our members, and these kinds of problems can limit productivity and growth.

“A significant proportion of the engineering and manufacturing workforce is reaching retirement age: combine this with a lack of awareness among many young people about how exciting a 21st century engineering and manufacturing career can be, and it is easy to see why businesses are experiencing challenges. With increased investment in the renewables, automotive, EV, hydrogen and nuclear sectors in North East England, there is also a real concern within the engineering and manufacturing sector about the impact of skills displacement.”

She continued: “It is therefore vital that the engineering and manufacturing community can come together to discuss current and future challenges, and importantly share experiences of what can be achieved right now for mutual benefit. With this conference at TDR Training’s headquarters, EMN is providing a platform for debate, discussion and learning.”

Strong line-up of speakers

David Land, chairman of EMN, added: “We are looking forward to inviting delegates to Engineers and Manufacturers Assemble – Recruitment and Retention and are very excited to be running the conference. Our team have secured an exceptionally strong line-up of speakers from the engineering and manufacturing sector, who will be sharing their own personal experiences, offering advice on best practice and sparking new conversations and ideas.”

EMN’s goal is to have 80% of its membership consisting of engineering and manufacturing firms, with 20% of members hailing from the service sector. The organisation’s members can access impartial, peer-to-peer advice via its community of engineering and manufacturing businesses, and the organisation offers informed signposting and personal introductions, workshops, site visits and the annual EMCON showcase.

In 2023, EMCON attracted more than 900 visitors and 120 exhibitors from North East England and beyond. This year, EMCON will be held on 12 September at Rainton Arena in Houghton-le-Spring.

Engineers and Manufacturers Assemble – Recruitment and Retention is free for EMN members and is £5 per ticket for non-members. It runs from 8.30am to 1.30pm on 26 April. To register for the conference, visit www.eventbrite.co.uk.