OPINION: Mobility sector at “the bottom of the list” for new generation of talented engineers
With over 50 years’ working in the mobility industry and having run Kent Mobility for close to three decades, John Payne has seen his fair share of faces enter and leave the industry. Speaking at the company’s recent Assessment Centre launch, John shared his thoughts on the difficulty of recruiting the right people in the mobility industry.
At the launch event, which saw local healthcare professionals in Kent attend to see the new, modern Assessment Centre and attend short, informative seminars held by a number of suppliers on the day, John mentioned that difficult involved in finding a new service engineer.
“If you look at the entire industry, it is difficult to find competent people, particularly in the engineering side of the sector,” he commented.
Discussing whether the answer for the shortage was more young engineers in the industry, John explained: “Yes but I think it is extremely difficult to engage young people who are interested in engineering to work in this sector.
“It is a tough sell to convince a young engineer who is interested in working on new BMWs and fast motorcycles to work on wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Really and truthfully, we are at the bottom of the list.
“Also, you have to have someone who takes a real interest in the products and the people using them. Good young engineers, in general, are hard to find so to find one who is really engaged with mobility products is even harder.”
In addition, John points out that he has found some people have struggled to adapt to the nature of the people’s conditions and disabilities, noting elements of an engineer’s role in the mobility sector that can prove unappealing.
“I’ve found over the years that people either stay for the long-run or they go after the first six months. I have had some good people who just couldn’t adjust to the disability market because we work with a really varied range of customers and conditions.
“This means some of the products that come into us do not always come back to us in the nicest of conditions, as would be expected in this industry. It is just the nature of what we do, however, for some people, that just isn’t for them.”
With this struggle to engage fresh talent in the industry, John notes that it has led to a situation of companies poaching the most capable people from one of another.
“I think in this industry, a lot of the companies run on two or three really good people and everyone else tries to steal them all the time,” he said.
Do you think the mobility industry struggles to find engaged, young talent? Do you have an example of a young person excelling in your company? Get in touch with Calvin at email@example.com and share your opinion.