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Topic Title: ELECTRICAL DESIGNERS
Topic Summary: An endangered species?
Created On: 21 August 2017 04:41 PM
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 21 August 2017 04:41 PM
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John Peckham

Posts: 8791
Joined: 23 April 2005

I work one day a week in a design office working with mechanical designers and CAD boys. I don't want to do any more days but the company is keen to find another full time designer. The problem is they can't find one. Anyone who is any good has a job and applicants who may be highly qualified can't actually design a job from scratch.

I feel sure that after many years of companies not training in house just buying in the ready made finished experienced article has exhausted the supply.

Am I wrong or are we fishing in the wrong pond?

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 21 August 2017 04:53 PM
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kenelmh

Posts: 90
Joined: 17 February 2012

Use tastier bait...
 21 August 2017 05:05 PM
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kenelmh

Posts: 90
Joined: 17 February 2012

That may have been a bit crass but outside of London, the level of offer doesn't seem to be great enough to dislodge a piece of furniture like me.

Its true about training, where it is invested in, it is not always everything it really needs to be as everybody is chasing the lowest bid, biggest profit margin and using trainees (or whatever you want to call them) as cheap-churn labour.

It's not a problem I know the answer to and perhaps my own greed is part of the problem!
 21 August 2017 05:40 PM
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TeesdaleSpark

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Anecdotally I am told the problem was the credit crunch stopped recruitment but people kept retiring. If you believe the CIBSE salary survey I could earn £12000 more in the south east than the north east, I'm not sure it's enough to tempt me though.

https://www.cibsejournal.com/uncategorized/building-services-salary-survey-2017/
 21 August 2017 06:00 PM
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Fm

Posts: 1733
Joined: 24 August 2011

Not everyone wants to work in the big smoke!
Quite happy with my 10 mile commute and a parking space outsid the office

A sensible approach would to have a company with lots of smaller offices, splitting the project across all the offices.
 21 August 2017 06:22 PM
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alanblaby

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Joined: 09 March 2012

Where is this John?
 21 August 2017 06:26 PM
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OMS

Posts: 22388
Joined: 23 March 2004

Originally posted by: TeesdaleSpark

Anecdotally I am told the problem was the credit crunch stopped recruitment but people kept retiring. If you believe the CIBSE salary survey I could earn £12000 more in the south east than the north east, I'm not sure it's enough to tempt me though.



https://www.cibsejournal.com/uncategorized/building-services-salary-survey-2017/


The problem started well before then - we kept losing engineers to the financial sector from the late 90's.

Basically, the money men love engineers as they can be relied upon to come up with the million page supporting evidence documents that show why it was a good idea to lend a lot of money to people who couldn't conceivably pay it back (sub prime lending)

Add to that 2 decades of under investment in training and particularly in apprenticeships that allowed progression via further education and then mix with a constant desire to turn engineers into project managers (so you lose your talented engineers and create mediocre PM's) and is it any wonder we can't find enough engineers

I've mentioned it before, but we now rely quite heavily on our Indian design centre to do the details - and keep the most talented engineers on board to do the thinking for them

It's not sustainable though, that's for sure

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 21 August 2017 06:59 PM
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MWalker86

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What doesn't help is the mad push from the government to try and make everyone do a degree as if this is the only barometer of intelligence and productivity in the workplace.

There's nothing wrong with going and getting a degree if it's right for you, but so many people would be better off with on the job vocational and technical training rather than writing essays for 3 years.

But for some reasons that's seen as the inferior career path for a lot of people, when I've no doubt the plumbers, plasterers and sparks of this world earn far more than the vast majority of graduates. Statistics on this will obviously be skewed by the talented few who actually did something useful like computer science, engineering etc and earn the mega bucks at top level positions. Your average person with a film studies degree is not doing the same and would have been far better off and useful to the economy doing something practical rather than academic.
 21 August 2017 07:20 PM
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OMS

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You'll have the SJW brigades after you, if you carry on talking sense like that - I can hear them warming up the outrage bus from here

A degree in film studies is ma right, innit tho' blud - doesn't make them feel inferior when they are flipping burgers with the rest of the meeja studies grads

OMS

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Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 21 August 2017 07:43 PM
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MWalker86

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Well I think the naivety of youth plays a much larger part.

When I was 16 I went to college to do a national diploma in popular music for gods sake. I knew some guitar chords and was quite certain I was going to be a rock star. Given the chance to do it again, I would probably fight other candidates to death for a trade apprenticeship instead.

But at the time you just couldn't have convinced me because it might surprise some of you to learn that adolescents can be quite stubborn. Couple that to the idea that we must tell every child to follow their dream regardless of their aptitude and we end up allowing young people to do things that might not be right for them.

But then how far do you take that? Surely at some point your teenage child needs to be left to figure their own ***** out? I'm sure we wouldn't want to go back to the days where your father decided what your career was going to be and that was that, no discussion.
 21 August 2017 07:50 PM
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Zs

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Hello, I'm going to have bit of a rant.

I should prelude this by telling you that I do not have a degree. Like most of us I am C&G qualified and I love that institution to bits. My CV shows that I can design. So, you can do this design stuff without one and that's important to know. The interviews are tough though.

Having just left a freelance position as a designer for Atkins and moved to on the cards work as a commissioning engineer in the defence sector...

Crikey, National Insurance payments for the employed are, well, absobloodylutely massive. £330 a month? You're having a Giraffe aren't you? Don't bother going to a site to work it out I will tell you...£45,500 a year.

I spent time this weekend looking at quality of life and time to rest. I still have my own Ltd company which is approved by the employer because they love it that I am a registered installer. But, if I work at weekends I think that it needs to be for the enjoyment of it and not for the need of the money. Ha. I don't have children and even I am going to need to do some weekend work. I do have a fast track mortgage so that might balance the children thing. I ended up cancelling direct debits to insurances for broken legs, Amtech support, treats, storage for the car and so on because of the take home pay from what I think is not a badly paid position.

So I reckon therein lies the problem for getting hold of the 'mature' person capable of doing a design for you. We are out here.

I used to feel guilty getting the NHS to do an X ray on a random lump in the leg type of thing. That was because I paid such a tiny amount of NI and had a good turnover. Now, I'll make sure that they X ray the little spot on my ankle if I get one.

In my case the 167 days off a year are the attraction and the reason for staying. I have such a great deal I can do with that time and freelance never offered me that because it is a constant game of working and running the business. However, I know that they are a great employer and I've been blessed. That won't be the case for most employers so your job offer might be different in terms of time off. Make sure you work it out and find the balance.

When I am Prime Minister I will do something about the lack of balance in NI payments between the self employed and the employed.

Zs
 21 August 2017 08:29 PM
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John Peckham

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Blimey Zs that did not take you long to change sides?

When you are PM will your changes to the NI system give self employed persons sick pay, holiday pay and statutory redundancy if the business goes belly up?

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 21 August 2017 09:07 PM
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Zs

Posts: 3827
Joined: 20 July 2006

Originally posted by: John Peckham

Blimey Zs that did not take you long to change sides?



When you are PM will your changes to the NI system give self employed persons sick pay, holiday pay and statutory redundancy if the business goes belly up?


Au Contraire Rodney. I had no idea and am stunned. changing sides isn't the thing cos I might change back!

Zs
 21 August 2017 10:20 PM
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Parsley

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Joined: 04 November 2004

Hello John

An experienced PAYE designer in London would be looking at a minimum of £55K+car allowance, 5 weeks holiday and pension.

I've been very disappointed with the last couple of design consultancies I've had to work with.
Ridiculous cable sizing and daft containment routes and the mechanical is just as bad.
It may be that I want an Audi but can only afford a Kia but the quality has been really frustrating.
It must have cost them a lot more than they budgeted, when the Tech Subs are sent back as Cs.

Regards
 21 August 2017 10:43 PM
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SpencerHenry7671

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Joined: 29 June 2015

On this subject, but a slight hijack (... i apologise in advance)

I Started my own limited company last year. My focus has been to get design and consultancy work, but I have had trouble trying to get it to come though the door.

Any advice?

-------------------------
Spencer Henry

http://www.spencerhenryelectrical.co.uk/
contact@spencerhenryelectrical.co.uk
https://uk.linkedin.com/in/spencerhenry
 21 August 2017 11:02 PM
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John Peckham

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Parsley

Fully agree with your experience. It is not the money as that is available for the right person but applicants are few, academically qualified and have outstanding CVs but can't do the job. I am seeing applicants CVs with lists of employers and I am thinking these people bluff their way in to jobs, screw up or get found out they are proficient bullshi**s and get the boot or resign to dodge the bullit.

-------------------------
John Peckham

http://www.astutetechnicalservices.co.uk/
 22 August 2017 10:31 AM
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OMS

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Well I think the naivety of youth plays a much larger part.


As it always has - perhaps the problem today is the manipulation of that naivety to meet certain political agendas however

Personally speaking, I'd estimate that 50% of current university intakes have no business being in university - if the establishment was honest about these things, a large proportion should be diverted to other avenues and forms of education and employment.

But at the time you just couldn't have convinced me because it might surprise some of you to learn that adolescents can be quite stubborn.


Indeed - and long may it continue - when I was an adolescent I had very clear ideas about what I was going to do - but then life happens - see above and also below. All we need to do is equip young people, not direct them down a certain path (other than at a high level)


But then how far do you take that? Surely at some point your teenage child needs to be left to figure their own ***** out? I'm sure we wouldn't want to go back to the days where your father decided what your career was going to be and that was that, no discussion.


Of course we want young people to figure out their own futures - but as productive members of society. We do them a disservice when politics influences what should be a protective cradle that enables them to progress according to ability. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a framework that encourages people to do something meaningful, whilst keeping an eye on what skills etc future generations will need. As an example, I'd have no problem with a system that puts greater or lesser value on specific FE qualifications and effectively encourages individuals in certain directions - and that may include financial sweeteners or penalties - what we have at the moment is a Ponzi scheme

Maybe I was lucky - my old man never told me what to do - he just provided some guidance regarding what not to do - there is a difference - and I wouldn't have any issues if employers (and to some extent Government) played a bigger role in acting a bit like a benign dictator in these circumstances - in the sense that they can set targets for N number of nursing degress, Y number of vocational nursing entries (and an expectation that Z per cent of those would go on to a degree later) and that if you are willing to go and work in an area struggling for recruitment there would be a cost advantage if you stick it out for say 5 years (zero tuition fee for example) - apply the same criteria to most professions and any particular young person still has a lot of choice about what they think they want to do rather than what they will actually end up doing

Just my take on it of course

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 22 August 2017 10:55 AM
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kenelmh

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Originally posted by: OMS
nal.com/uncategorized/building-services-salary-survey-2017/



.... and then mix with a constant desire to turn engineers into project managers (so you lose your talented engineers and create mediocre PM's) and is it any wonder we can't find enough engineers


I've mentioned it before, but we now rely quite heavily on our Indian design centre to do the details - and keep the most talented engineers on board to do the thinking for them



It's not sustainable though, that's for sure



Regards



OMS


Do we work for the same firm or is this really that common?

I've had to take a side step (probably not a career enhancing one) to avoid carrying-on being a mediocre PM (which I hated), rather than a good engineer (something that's perhaps still an aspiration!)..
 22 August 2017 10:59 AM
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OMS

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Probably more common than you think - and we may well work for the same firm - the company has more than a few engineers dotted about the globe so inevitable one or two end up on here - or you are with one of my competitors - but basically we're all in the same leaking boat

Regards

OMS

-------------------------
Let the wind blow you, across a big floor.
 22 August 2017 11:11 AM
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Delbot321

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I'd have to agree with the view that a CV with too many employers in a short period of time says they can't do the job and get moved along.

The problem I encountered was that most employers HR/Recruitment couldn't get their head past the fact that some of us don't have a degree, and in my world, am unlikely to achieve one. Since 2000 ish every one and his dog seems to have taken the career path to get a degree, however prior to that the technical apprenticeship route was where the individuals with the right mix of practical and technical ability were directed, and therefore no degree implies that you have no ability to do the job.

Like a lot of people on here I came through the C&G/apprenticeship route and spent around 10 years carrying out periodic inspections (wiring, fire alarms, emergency lighting) and to do that you need to have a reasonable ability to assess the likely design requirements of the system before you can comment on its condition and suitability for current needs and use, again this is a point lost on most employers.

When I came off the tools into the office there was a steep learning curve about H&S, contract law, project management, finance and the like in order to become a project engineer. I was lucky that my employer at the time had a training scheme to cover all these knowledge gaps. My current employer has already recognised the benefit of C&G/HNC/HND type qualifications and now rates these much more than a degree.

I would think that there are plenty of time severed (or similarly practical individuals) that have broad experience across a wide range of systems and installations that would be very open to broadening their abilities, especially as these individuals are probably of an age where a less physically demanding job would be more appealing. However, it needs to be recognised that these individuals are likely to need training and support in the use of IT packages including those that a lot of us take for granted such as word and excel as most will be of an age where this was never previously a necessity. Even now I struggle with CAD never mind getting my head around a BIMMS model, but I try and leave these to the younger generation.

Perhaps what is needed, in the short term at least, is some thinking outside the normal bounds, so maybe an open day targeting experienced electricians looking for career development - perhaps in a college or similar on a day when the higher level electricians doing inspection & test refreshers are about, or even a 20 minute presentation with questions and answers to anyone attending a C&G 2396 Design Course or similar. Basically target those of an age that have a practical background with years of experience. From there look for a number of individuals that would be interested in doing a week shadowing an existing designer/consultant, attending meetings, taking clients briefs, preparing preliminary designs, snagging jobs etc. in order to give them a feel for the job and that they could do it.

If someone has told me 20 years ago I could be a consultant electrical engineer I would have laughed at them, but 20 years on I like to think I'm reasonably successful at what I do and most of it is based on my practical training as an apprentice, although a natural curiosity as to how things work goes a long way too. I just wonder what will come along in the next 20 years?
IET » Wiring and the regulations » ELECTRICAL DESIGNERS

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