A review of SALTEX 2019 and the issues we continue to face in the land-based engineering sector

The show was busy both mornings but as usual petered out early in the afternoon, but exhibitors reported good interest and those I spoke to were happy about the show and levels of interest.

Also a good show for BAGMA where we were able to talk to members and sign a couple of new companies. Some interesting conversations about trailer brake testing, installation and handover and the general state of the industry. All in all, it was a good show at a good time of the year. It was well organised by the IOG, so a big well done to all.

I was asked to do a presentation in one of the Learning Live Theatres about the issues relating to recruitment and retention in the Land-based Engineering sector. Although speaking to a small audience the level of interest was high and interestingly was picked up on by an American company who are involved in a similar promotion because of the shortages of technicians in the USA.

The low numbers of technicians coming into the industry at an apprentice level is alarming and a big concern for our industry worldwide.  The only way we are going to make a difference to this is for the LBE sector to get up of its backsides and start encouraging young people to take an interest in the industry. We need greater visibility, we need a generic recruitment programme, we need funding and we need both the small and large companies in the industry to start taking a more proactive interest in recruitment locally and nationally.

saltex 2019
BAGMA Director Keith Christian, presenting his industry recruitment seminar

We are not alone, I am dealing with the same issues through our European CLIMMAR group and it is very clear that the problem exists all over the world. We have to come together to ensure that we have succession for technicians. With an average age in the industry for technicians of 55 and a yearly shortage of apprentices of around 650 a year in England alone it just isn’t looking good for the future.

The industry is high tech. it is diverse, it is complicated, it is incredibly interesting, and it is involved in feeding the world, providing sports and amenity areas and a huge amount of entertainment and pleasure for all.

Comments from BAGMA Director, Keith Christian