Skills boost for UK electronics industry

Douglas Alexander, the UK’s e-Commerce Minister, today launched a new £2.8 million training scheme to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in electronics.

Douglas Alexander, the UK’s e-Commerce Minister, today launched a new £2.8 million training scheme to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader in electronics, an industry worth £45 billion in the UK.

The scheme is funded jointly by the DTI and industry, represented by the Federation of the Electronics Industry (FEI).

The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Design Scheme reportedly aims to increase career opportunities in PCB design, and improve the current skills base of those training and already working in the industry.

The UK is currently a global leader in PCB design with 40% of all independent PCB design houses in Europe and more than 5,000 designers. To maintain a competitive position the UK will need at least 500 more PCB designers over the next four years.

The PCB design training centres are expected to be based at Napier University, the University of Glamorgan, Castle Reagh College in Belfast, Bolton Institute, the University of East London and Newbury College.

The training centres will be charged with producing, by 2006, up to 500 additional PCB Designers and retraining for over 200 existing practitioners. The training centres will also aim to improve the status of PCB Designers by creating a more recognisable career path

In addition to the centres, the project will provide distance based learning, with a view to keeping current PCB designers up to date and ensuring the opportunity is extended to those working in SMEs where release for key workers may be difficult.