New funding to encourage more learners in Wales into electronics

Date: 11.12.2023

Topics: Skills

New funding to encourage more learners in Wales into electronics

A project offering financial support to encourage more learners in Wales to study electronics at university has launched today.

"Spark their imagination; power their future’—a project funded by Innovate UK and run by Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult and the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF)—will offer 24 bursaries of £1,000 to Year 13 pupils in Wales who have secured a place at university*.

A one-off bursary of £1,500 will also be awarded for personal and professional development after a student’s first year of study*.

The project will also provide thousands of learners across Wales, aged 15-18, with classroom resources and insights into the wealth of exciting and rewarding career opportunities that are on offer across the Welsh electronics sector.

Between 2012 and 2021, the number of Welsh students studying an Electronics and Electrical Engineering (EEE) degree reduced by a third, dropping from 180 to 120.



Electrical Engineers are also in high demand as technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives, with opportunities to work in areas such as smartphone technologies, aerospace, robotics, artificial intelligence and electric vehicles.

Over the past decade, Wales has seen a significant investment in its electronics industry and now plays host to several leading businesses.

Wales also has a global reputation in next-generation technologies such as compound semiconductors and is home to the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster, CSconnected.

It has also established itself as one of the best places in the country to study EEE degrees, with Cardiff University recently ranked 1st in the UK for EEE degrees by the Guardian League Table**.

In addition to financial support, the new project will deliver a selection of the UKESF's well-established and award-winning schools' initiatives, such as classroom resources, online learning, mentoring and career days to demystify electronics and encourage more learners into the industry.

The project will also aim to increase the diversity of young people entering the electronics industry.

The Office for Students shows that in 2022, just 17.9% of engineering, technology and computing undergraduate entrants were female, whilst Engineering UK reports that 11.4% of the engineering workforce are from minority ethnic backgrounds.

The project will be delivered with the support of a range of stakeholders across the STEM eco-system in Wales.

“Developing skills for the future in clusters across the UK is a key part of our strategy. We are therefore delighted to partner with the UKESF on this project and to start work on increasing the number of Welsh students taking an electronics and electrical engineering degree.

“A career in electronics and electric engineering is extremely rewarding and presents a wealth of opportunities to be at the forefront of exciting and emerging industries such as robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles.

“It is imperative that these well-paid and in-demand jobs are made visible to learners in Wales and that we do everything we can to break down barriers so that students from a wide-range of backgrounds have every opportunity to pursue a career in this industry.”

Martin McHugh, Chief Executive Officer at CSA Catapult

“It’s great to be able to support schools in Wales and to encourage more young people to pursue careers as electronics engineers. As the only organisation linking schools, universities, students and industry to address electronics skills, the UKESF will be an important contributor to the long-term success of the industry in Wales.”

Stewart Edmondson, Chief Executive Officer at UKESF

"This initiative is a great example of targeted action to encourage young people into science and technology careers that will help us spur innovation in sectors like semiconductors.

“Electronics and electrical engineering degrees are gateways to careers in diverse and pioneering fields. By nurturing these skills, we're not just enhancing our capabilities in traditional sectors; we're shaping the future of technology and paving the way for breakthroughs in fields like artificial intelligence, aerospace, and electric vehicles.”

Speaking on a visit to CSA Catapult, Saqib Bhatti, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)