Funny, isn’t it, how society treats different professions? Estate agents? Boo. Bankers? Well, fat cat brokers get a double boo, but your high-street branch manager was - and, in some cases, still is - a pillar of the community. Journalists and politicians, meanwhile, have seen a spectacular fall from grace in recent years.
What about the car industry? First reactions are usually uncertain, thanks largely I think to its reputation of yesteryear in the UK, when workers were usually picketing, bloated car companies were profiteering and everyone knocked off for a half day on a Friday. Loveable rogue Arthur Daley and his sheepskin coat didn’t help, either, nor the variety of recent scandals that have tarred everyone with the same brush, regardless of the clear evidence of the industry’s record for innovation and progress.
Yet I can’t think of an industry I’d rather my kids went into; it’s exciting, it’s innovative, it’s complex and challenging, and the products at the end of it are both mechanical marvels and hugely emotive. Be it engineering, marketing, retail sales - the list goes on - the opportunities for a bright, varied career are enormous.
But, for all that, there is a skills shortfall across the board. Yes, there is a focus on engineering, where the gap is at its greatest. But the problems and opportunities stretch across the industry, as recent initiatives from Drive My Career and iwantobea show, with the former tackling opportunities in the retail sector and the latter highlighting apprenticeships available, on which we’ve written more here.