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Douglas Alexander MP - Former Minister of State for E-Commerce and Competitiveness
Launch Printed Circuit Board Design Scheme
|(Left DTI 29/5/02)|
Thank you, Anthony. I am delighted to be here today at the launch of the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Design Scheme. I believe that this project will continue to develop the United Kingdom as a leading global player, in this important high value added area.
As the Government recognised in the 2001 White Paper, "Opportunity for all in a world of change", the development and maintenance of a healthy skills base is vital for ongoing economic success and productivity in the UK. This is especially so in the all important enabling technologies that make the UK a leading Knowledge Economy: IT, Communications and electronics. This is why my Department, in partnership with the Department for Education and Skills, supports a major strategy to maintain and improve the supply of skilled labour for these vital industries.
This PCB project is part of that third objective, to ensure that industry gets the people it needs, through a ground breaking partnership between industry, the Education system and government.
Printed Circuit Boards are found in most electronic products, virtually all electronic equipment contains one or more. The UK is particularly strong in electronics design. It has the EU's largest independent industry for silicon chip design, with;
But if Britain is to continue this work then the number of PCB Designers needs to be maintained and opportunities opened for those currently in the profession to refresh their skills.
PCB Design is one of the highest value-added activities in the production process. Design underpins many of the technical advances in chip speed and new product design and current practitioners need to constantly refresh and update their skills. But we need more than that. We need :
The project will therefore establish PCB design centres in six academic institutions throughout the UK;
These institutions will be charged with:
Improving the status of PCB Designers by creating a more recognisable career path, with three levels of expertise :
In addition to the centres, the project will provide distance based learning. We hope that this will be of particular help to SMEs who find it difficult to release key workers and also for helping key workers keep up to date.
The DTI is therefore pleased to be able to put in funding of £1.229m, with matched funding from industry of £1.6m.
An early outcome of the work is a redefining of the job description as Electronic Design Realisation Professional to encompass the broader responsibilities of the Designer.
As a Scottish MP I am pleased to see that the validating Higher Education Institute is Napier University and that the project will utilise the facilities of the Centre of Excellence in the Borders, which is being supported by Scottish Enterprise Borders and the FEI, The Centre is being launched later this month.
I am grateful for the work of both the Printed Circuit Industries Federation and the Federation of Electronics Industries in bringing together the project. I congratulate Anthony Parish, Brian Haken, William Campbell, Martin Tarr and Frank Coultard on all their hard work which has ensured that the project can begin. I commend their efforts and wish the project every success.
Other speeches by Douglas Alexander MP - Former Minister of State for E-Commerce and Competitiveness
(the following are available from the archive)