What is ACE?

The Awareness of Careers in Engineering (ACE) programme was launched in February 2008 as part of the Engineering Sector Skills Group aim of ensuring the islands engineering and manufacturing sector companies are able to recruit local people with the required skills so the sector can be sustained and grow here on our island in support of government's strategy to build a diverse, dynamic economy.

The ACE programme was set up by the Engineering Sector Skills Group (see link here for more information) February 2008 to help address the local skills shortage on our Island.

The programme has three fundamental aims:

  1. To change people’s (students, teachers, parents, adults etc) perception of engineering and manufacturing,
  2. To make these people more aware of what the engineering and manufacturing sector on our island comprises and does and
  3. To ensure our students and parents see engineering and manufacturing as a viable, rewarding and long term career option here on our island.

The programme centres around doing something different to make our community more aware and enthused towards engineering and manufacturing. It has two key features:

  • Explaining what engineering and manufacturing actually is – it’s not about fixing cars but the creation/design and manufacture of some everyday items and also some highly complicated components for the aerospace industry to name but one of our highly specialised sectors. For example, did you know that components for the new Airbus A380 (the worlds largest commercial airliner), the new Boeing 787 (Dreamliner) and new Airbus A350 are made here on our island. We've even got items working away on Mars!

  • Explaining what opportunities are available now and are likely to be in the future here on our island and the skills needed to fill these. In addition, how this then relates to what subjects are offered in our schools and University College Isle of Man. We can envisage that in the near future we will need a good mix of many skills such as those for machine operators, inspectors, planners, assemblers, testers, financiers, marketeers, purchasers, managers and executives alike, and all of which can be achieved by achieving good results at school, college or universities depending on what students are good at or interested in. It should be noted at this stage that engineering and manufacturing does not just involve people who can ‘make’ things (though this is our largest skill set and need). There are many supportive roles such as designers, planners, inspectors and also people in Human Resources, Finance, Purchasing and Quality (see link here for more information on manufacturing and support roles within the sector).

The programme centres around taking engineering and manufacturing into the classroom (see link here for more information about what the programme offers inside our schools).

Use the other aspects shown on the drop down menu for ACE to see what else the programme is involved with.

Since the start of the programme, we have seen an increase in both numbers and quality of applications for job vacancies and engineering related University College Isle of Man courses, including the sector's apprenticeship scheme. We are also seeing a definite shift in knowledge in that people are becoming more aware of what the engineering and manufacturing sector does, what companies are involved, and they are also asking more appropriate questions towards careers.

Progress to date has been excellent and the feedback from everyone it has touched is phenomenal. We could not really ask for a more positive response from students, parents and teachers alike. However, there is much more to be done and we continue to be focused and driven to doing it. 

If you would like to get more involved with the programme (helping guide it's focus, get more involved with activities or support it financially) or just need more information then please contact the Engineering and Manufacturing Sector Skills Champion (see link here for contact details). 

Whatever your life's work is, do it well. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (American Baptist minister, activist and humanitarian)