Sir James Dyson reckons web design and video game development are to blame for the UK’s shortage of engineering graduates.
Oh, the life of a game developer. Money, women, fame, the respect and admiration of other creatives; developers generally receive none of these things, but that hasn’t stopped young students from flocking to game design courses. The “glamor” of game development and website design is drawing young Britons away from traditional engineering, at least according to bagless vacuum inventor, Sir James Dyson.
Yes, that Dyson. There’s very little chance of us getting through this topic without at least one “sucks” joke, so you’d best get it over with.
“I am heartened that the government has shown a willingness to make the U.K. a high technology exporter,” said Dyson during an interview with Radio Times magazine as quoted by the Telegraph. “But I am concerned that we are sometimes distracted by the glamor of web fads and video gaming rather than the development of tangible technology that we can export.”
By Dyson’s estimation, the UK is facing a deficit of 60,000 engineering students this year. His proposed solution is to offer incentives to prospective students and ensure high salaries are waiting for them when they graduate. The UK government recently announced plans for a 25 percent tax break for “video games, animation and high-end television industries” that pass a “cultural test” proving their Britishness. Expect a lot of games about sarcasm, mild xenophobia and binge drinking, in other words.
“Our future technology depends on nurturing bright minds to develop technology for export, but there is a shortage of engineers in the U.K.,” Dyson later told Sky News. “To help businesses the government needs to encourage more students into engineering subjects.”
This isn’t the first time Dyson has raised concerns about the UK’s competitiveness in the tech industry. In 2011, he sparked a minor controversy when he suggested that educating foreign nationals might harm the nation’s technological advantage in the long run.
“Britain is very proud about the number of foreign students we educate at our universities,” he told the Sunday Times, “but actually all we are doing is educating our competitors.”