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Do companies get help with engineering staff wages?


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Is the following true….

The UK pays 17 billion pounds per year to the EU, and some 6 billion pounds comes back to UK as a rebate.

The EU then uses some of this money to “help” the UK engineering industry with staffing costs. In other words, UK engineering companies can apply to the EU to have “x” number of engineering staff members payed for by the EU (ie the EU effectively pays the wages of these engineers). The UK engineering companies don’t have to actually give these “engineers” any engineering work to do, but just have to declare to the EU that they are working as engineers.

UK engineering companies are keen to employ engineers under this scheme, because then they have a “stockpile” of engineering staff available to them if they are needed.

However, this scheme has its problems….this is because the UK engineering companies are being payed to employ these people, and have no desire for these people to gain any engineering work experience, because then if they did gain experience, then they might just go and work for one of their competitors and be useful to their competitors. –Such “stockpile” engineers are considered highly likely to want to seek work elsewhere because generally speaking, they don’t tend to have much to do in the companys where they work.

So in other words, this “payment of engineering staff wages” is actually bad for the uk engineering industry, because it encourages companys to “stockpile” engineers, when it would actually be better for the uk economy if those engineers went and worked at companies where there was real engineering work for them to do.

Is this happening, this “wages assistance” from the EU to UK?


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I am no expert but I don't think what you say is the case. There are certainly government grants for training, including employing people under training, especially the young.

Here is a link which may give you some insight: http://www.engineeringuk.com/EngineeringUK2015/EngUK_Report_2015_Interactive.pdf

It is true that, in some cases, trainees are misused and not given the technical training that the UK government and EU are paying for- normally matched 50/50. There is the old adage the trainees make the tea. In theory, government inspectors should ensure that government funded trainees are appropriately employed.

In terms of trainees leaving after gaining skills. Yes, this does happen but in the majority of cases the reverse is true. But this should be viewed in the more general context that, in the UK, the average stay in a job in the electronics industry is around three years (I think). Of course this varies greatly according to age and position.

Another aspect is that there is normally a dire shortage of technical skills in the UK and generally in the world.

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Back when i left university i joined a graduate scheme at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. This is a part government part EU science council funded fusion reactor. It has to be funded as there is no short or medium term profit in it (its always 30 years away!) so no company would invest the millions needed into this technology.
While working here i was enrolled on a 3 year EU graduate training program - as the OP suggests this was a fully funded position by the EU where my full staff costs were reimbursed to the organisation. During this scheme i had the opportunity to travel to partner EU facilities and work with a wide array of multi-MW power supplies and power supply types. I learnt a huge amount. I admit that i did leave the company, but thats more because its hard to get motivated about something that might be useful at about the point when i would retire!

In terms of if this is good for the UK. Well i'm still working in the UK and my new job in aerospace is fully benefiting from the training i was given in terms of working with a multi-national team and in terms of experience with a wide variety of power supplys and silicon power devices. However i guess you could look at it as causing salary inflation in terms of while i was training i did little 'real' work and when i left I was able to get a hefty salary increase due to the training experience and thus driving up engineering costs and product prices.

As i said before I now work in the aerospace sector and the company still benefits hugely from EU funding. Not so much in paying for staff but in funding R&D work which wouldn't be done otherwise due to the impact on profit margin. See cleansky, actuation 2015 to name a couple. This indirectly employs UK engineers and increases the value of UK IP and engineering. Of course the UK does fund some of our R&D work as well to support UK industry.


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Informative post Misterbenn and well put- I enjoyed reading that. Sounds like you have had an interesting career so far. :cool:


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