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Skills initiative aims to attract people to £12bn PEMD sector

25 October, 2023

A landmark initiative that provides information on skills, competencies and training needed to work in the PEMD (power electronics, machines and drives) sector, has been launched at an event in London. Called the PEMD Body of Knowledge – or PEMDBoK – it will allow individuals, employers, course providers, recruiters, and companies to sign up and access a wealth of information on skills and capabilities required by the sector.

The shared framework, developed in a collaboration between industry and academic experts led by Coventry University, is being described as “game-changing” for a sector which is expected to generate more than £12bn of domestic revenue by 2025 and to create more than 169,000 new jobs.

The PEMDBoK is being hosted on the Electric Revolution Skills (ERS) Hub Web site, and thousands of people are expected to access it in its first year.

“PEMD requires a broad and evolving set of skills and competencies that traditionally have been challenging to navigate for individuals and organisations – a problem exacerbated by differences in language used by employers, course providers and learners,” explains Petar Igic, the ERS Hub’s academic director. “This situation is holding the sector back and preventing new talent from entering at exactly the time companies need them. If we don’t try to reverse this trend, then the UK could quite easily find itself falling behind in the electrification race.

“We had to do something about this and by bringing together more than 100 different industry and academic experts, we have come up with The Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Body of Knowledge,” Igic adds.

The initiative captures the the skills required to do jobs such as power electronics engineering, compliance testing, and converter design. It uses a unified language that everyone can understand and offers information on job specifications, courses, skills breakdowns, and career paths.

The aim is to start bridging the skills gap by establishing a shared framework of technology, skills, and proficiencies, emphasising continuous learning and evolution.

“The issue is that there aren’t enough people to fill those 169,000+ jobs,” Igic points out. “While there are multiple engineers with experience and recent graduates, only a few decide to enter the PEMD field.

“There are multiple reasons for this from both a recruiter and workforce perspective. Employers would rather hire experienced engineers than train people, unappealing job offers, unclear requirements/skills for roles, or a language gap in industry and education.

The Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Body of Knowledge Web site will provide information on employment in the sector

“ERS Hub and BoK aim to support at both ends of the spectrum,” Igic concludes. “By creating a common language, we allow recruiters and employers to easily create ‘standardised’ job profiles that can be understood, whilst also helping education and course providers to design their courses/training to better meet those demands.”

The ERS Hub, which was launched in Birmingham earlier this year – and forms part of the Government's Driving the Electric Revolution initiative – has already attracted 87,000 visitors. The digital platform is helping businesses to attract new people to work in electrification and supports growth in this vital industry by making it easy to find 838 training courses – in areas such as electrical engineering, laminations, motors, automation and 3D printing – via a comprehensive catalogue.

It also hosts the first jobs board purely for electrification, providing a constantly updated list of available positions, the skills needed for those roles, and average remuneration being offered.

The ERS Hub has forged links with more than 200 partners, including schools, colleges, universities and businesses.

“The universal language of electrification is now live,” says the ERS Hub’s commercial director, Deepak Farmah. “It is time for the sector to embrace it to ensure the UK leads the way to a greener future.”

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