We recently exhibited at the East Midlands Expo and what a great time we had. Like any Expo it provided us with an excellent opportunity to network with local engineering companies across the Midlands.
Attending allowed us to reach a specific audience which our training is extremely relevant to. It also gave us the opportunity to create partnerships, enhance our reputation as a leading training provider and ultimately provide companies with the knowledge on how to upskill their workforce within the engineering sector.
Why were we at the Expo? Let’s just say, we know our facts.
An abundance of engineering companies are predominantly Midlands based. High value engineering constitutes 6% of employees in the region and 19.5% of the working population in the UK, making the sector one of great importance. It has however, been identified that there are skill shortages within the engineering sector, particularly in the following; research and development and problem solving.
According to The IET annual survey, the “skills gap” has worsened for the ninth year in a row. This gap has not gone unnoticed either, having since become an important economic issue and one of the reasons for Britain’s strained productivity. Bridging the skills gap is therefore required in order to equip engineers with the essential skills that will ultimately help businesses plan for a sustainable future, progression and survival.
Managers, take note.
Managerial skills are also a very important factor within the sector. Selecting and developing the correct people to run a business is crucial. Paired with practical knowledge, skills such as leading change, performance management and practical problem solving are very important.
With the skills shortage threatening the sustainability of businesses nationwide, it is paramount that businesses upskill their workforce in order to lead effectively. The overwhelming consensus among employers is that too many employees lack skills such as; critical thinking and problem solving, collaborative/teamwork, communication, adaptability/managing multiple priorities, planning/organisation.
It has been reported that Britain only produces around 25,000 engineering graduates per year, however Sir James Dyson has said that he would require 3000 if his company is able to expand further. A shortage of engineers and necessary skills can have a detrimental effect to economic sustainability of engineering employers, with many companies having reportedly said that the shortage could be “a threat to their business in the UK”.
Without transferring and developing knowledge, there is a risk that a huge amount of experience will be lost to the industry within the years to come. The importance of engineering is significant not only to the economy but also with regards to employment. Every new engineering role, creates an additional two jobs within the economy, therefore make it a priority to upskill.
The theme of National Stress Awareness Day focuses on employee wellbeing. According to Live It Well, 1 in 6 British workers are affected by conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress each year. Thi can therefore have a significant effect on the workplace and employees, however there are ways to reduce stress and with the correct knowledge, you can support colleagues through this.
Manage Your Time
Day-to-day we waste a lot of our time starting tasks and not finishing them, especially when we are stressed. In order to complete tasks effectively, prioritise your work load by writing lists and completing the most important task first. Unimportant tasks can wait, and often they will become non-priority leaving you time to complete other important things. Try not to put off time consuming tasks – avoidance can cause a great deal of stress. Once the unpleasant tasks are ticked off you will feel much more positive.
Remember to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Engaging in some form of physical activity can dramatically improve your stress levels. You can also relax in many different ways, whether it’s seeing friends, reading or going to the cinema. Taking your mind fully off work can really help to reduce stress.
Know Your Limitations
We’re all guilty of taking on too much as we don’t want to let people down. We can often think it seems weak to ask for help or to say ‘No’ to things. Instead, learn to delegate effectively and be assertive without upsetting and offending of course.
Don’t Be Negative
Avoid being negative. Instead look for a resolution to a dispute where both parties can achieve a positive outcome. Talk about problems and find out what the root cause is. This is the first step to solving conflict. Invest time in making things right and look for win – win situations.
Take the necessary time out to relax. Taking just a regular short break at work will allow you to feel much more positive and relaxed. Alongside this, remember to take your annual leave throughout the year. That way you get a regular break. Often we tend to worry about work piling up while we are away, however put your out of office on and let people know you are unavailable.
If you have identified that something is concerning you, try and see it in a different light. Talk over your problem with somebody before it gets out of proportion. Often someone else’s opinion and advice will help you to see things from a less stressful perspective.
Try to avoid...
alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Short term, they may help, but long term, these are faulty coping mechanisms that will just add to the problem. Caffeine and nicotine are both stimulants – too much and the body reacts to this with the stress response, therefore increasing anxiety. Try to substitute or even reduce the amount you have, this will begin to have a positive effect.
Your personal impact makes a huge difference in the workplace. Leaders must communicate effectively in order to instil confidence within the workforce. That’s why developing self-awareness is crucial, as this allows you to deliberately think about your emotions, behaviour and personality before applying them to certain situations.
The way you represent yourself is crucial. Reflecting a professional image ensures that you are aware of your environment, values and audience. Dressing professionally also allows you to approach situations much more confidently, enhancing your personal impact within the work place.
Cut the jargon.
When you’re speaking to people, try to curve that inner word boffin. Long, often complicated jargon can result in creating boundaries with the people you are trying to communicate with. Instead, why not use real examples to ensure people can relate to you. This will inevitably allow you to develop natural conversation and form relationships.
Finishing sentences and interrupting people – it’s a big no. People want to feel listened to and appreciated. It often takes a lot for a person to voice their opinion or ideas, therefore allow them feel comfortable. The ability to listen is really important and often a skill overlooked. You have the opportunity to learn new ideas, develop a rapport and enhance your people skills – use it to your advantage!
Personal social media accounts say a lot about a person, so ensure that you keep yours clean. Often people make judgements from social media profiles as it’s a quick way to divulge into the type of person someone is. Think of it as your personal brand, would you be happy to let your manager see your profile?
We all get nervous before a meeting, conference call or event – it’s natural. Remember to smile and be confident in your own ability. If you are organised in your approach to situations, then all you need focus on is your delivery.
Remember that stress can also have a damaging effect on your interpersonal skills. Tempted to shut yourself away from your colleagues in order to get your work done? Sometimes it can prove productive, yet other times you can end up taking on more, therefore increasing your stress levels. Ensure you speak to colleagues as they may be able to lend a helping hand.
Praise colleagues and thank them for their help. This will improve the overall morale within the workplace, allowing them to feel appreciated. Colleagues will also be more inclined to help you in the future if they feel valued and it’s a great way to build relationships.
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