The UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF) has launched a national campaign to address the skills shortage in electronics.

The #TurnOnToElectronics initiative is fronted by Gadget Show presenter Georgie Barrat and is backed by DigiLocal, which runs over 14 community code clubs around the region for 8 to 16 year olds to develop their skills i electronics, coding and robotics.

“As the UK’s leading Smart City, Bristol is leading the way in electronics innovation by enthusing the next generation,” said John Bradford, CEO of High Tech Bristol & Bath which runs the code clubs “DigiLocal is supporting communities across the city region to provide their young people with weekly tech clubs for aspiring electronics engineers.”

Despite the UK having the world’s sixth largest Electronics sector (contributing towards 6% of our GDP which is over £120 million per year), only 3,330 UK students enrolled in Electronic and Electrical Engineering degrees in 2017 according to UCAS. This is less than half the number enrolling in far more popular Mechanical Engineering degree courses.

“I’m delighted to be involved in the UKESF’s #TurnOnToElectronics campaign, which is shining a welcome spotlight on careers in electronic engineering. Often incorrectly seen as one of the less glamorous STEM areas, studying electronics can lead to an exciting and creative career, which enables students to make a real difference in the world,” said Georgie Barrat,

“The UK has a long heritage of technological innovation and a world-class electronics industry. Adding to that, the Government’s new industrial strategy emphasises the importance of AI, robotics and transportation in further boosting productivity and earning power throughout the UK. The aim of our campaign is to ensure that this hugely important industry isn’t consumed by a black hole caused by a lack of talent,” said Stewart Edmondson, CEO of the UKESF, a charity that skills develpoment htorugh student placements.

The campaign’s sponsors include leading electronics organisations such as Dialog in Swindon, ARM (which has a design centre in Bristol) and Qualcomm, as well as 21 academic partners.

Partners and allies are being asked to formally pledge their support by signing the campaign manifesto: