Who will keep the bearing industry in motion?
The bearing and power transmissions industry… to those who aren’t directly involved in the industry these words always seem to draw blank expressions. So how do young people choosing their first jobs in this field hear about it and pursue careers here?
To the rest of us the bearing industry is huge, with thousands of distributors and manufacturers making parts ranging from as small as 4mm in diameter to 20 feet wide. The first modern day ball bearing design was said to be patented in Wales in 1794 by Philip Vaughan, since then the industry has grown to be a multi-billion dollar business.
It has become apparent at the BearingNet User Meetings the number of young delegates is on the rise.
Paulius Guzevicius and Martynas Martikonis from Craft Bearings, Lithuania were two of these delegates at the Hamburg User Meeting in March. Both Paulius and Martynas enjoy the challenge that the bearing and pt industry offers them. After studying Finance and International Economics at University, both decided that the bearing industry was for them. Martynas knew about the industry because his mother works there, but both see the challenges that young people are facing. Many of the older people at the User Meetings are very shocked to see two young people in charge of a company and there is a worry that they cannot be trusted with important business. Although, Craft do not see this as an issue “Young people in the industry is a positive thing, we’re energetic and learn new things fast, it’s great to be young in this field!”
Many companies are constantly seeking students and young people to start and develop their careers in industry through schemes such as apprenticeships. This is no different from those in the bearing industry. Frohlich and Dorken GmbH have their own apprenticeship scheme where young people are given the opportunity to lay the foundation to a successful professional future.
According to the organisation Wise, a campaign that promotes women in STEM careers, the number of people, age 16, studying STEM subjects is on the rise. Leading to the assumption that the number of young people leaving school are more likely than ever to pursue their careers in an industrial or engineering trade.
Gianluca Conte (right) started working at Werthenbach Konstruktionsteile GmbH & Co. KG in May 2012. Although he was not aware of the industry before joining Werthenbach, the role that he was offered really
appealed to him. “I get to travel a lot, which is great. I like coming to the User Meetings and seeing familiar faces.”
Both the EPTDA and PTDA work to extend their network of ‘Next Generation’ contacts (professionals under 40) to engage the emerging leaders of the power transmission industry. Both generations work to give their Next Gen members the chance to make contacts and develop their skills through educational and networking events.
Kristin Jennings, the leader of the PTDA 2015 Next Generation meeting in Chicago said,
“When it comes to the industry as a whole, I can really only speak for the events I go to. I’ve definitely seen a slight increase in the number of young attendees at functions like PTDA, but in the case of notional meetings, most of the attendees come from executive positions that my generation typically do not hold. However, when I look at my own place of work, Climax Metal Products Company, we had two people from the millennial generation when I first started back in 2008 – we now have 10 of us currently employed and many more who have come and gone. For a small manufacturer of 60 employees, that’s quite a leap.”
Kristin was lucky enough to be head hunted by Climax after graduating in 2008, leading her to believe it is a relatively easy industry to get into. However, Kristin often gets questioned by friends who are surprised to find that she chose to work in the manufacturing industry over consumer products that people have a connection to. She said, “There’s this stigma that comes with our industry that remains a double edged sword – its lack of desirability to most creates incredible opportunity for some. Once you get past outside perception, the opportunity is tremendous and fairly easy to attain – especially when you have experience which those who came later in their careers are missing.”
50% of the employees at BearingNet are under thirty with the majority returning to the company after a year’s industry placement while at University. Peter Annis, Managing Director of BearingNet commented
“BearingNet have been employing placement students since 2000. I feel it is every company’s responsibility to train the next generation of young people in their industries, whether this be
apprenticeships, training schemes or undergraduates.
Each of our student have brought very different skills to the company. I have taken three of our placement students on full time – this has definitely been our most successful way or recruiting!
Young people tend to be fast learners, adaptable and great with technology, even without them realising it! They have a natural energy and enthusiasm which, if you can point in the right direction, brings tremendous business results.
BearingNet is a Technology Business and technology is a young person’s game, and what we’re trying to anticipate is what the next generation of bearing distributors are going to want in the future! ”
Nicola Beer started working at BearingNet nine years ago, a placement student then returning to a full time position. Nicola now works with her Sales and Marketing team, Chris Howard and Molly Vaughan who have both come out of the same scheme at the same university!
Nicola said “I didn’t necessarily choose a career in the bearing industry I was looking for a career in marketing and events but since then have fully integrated myself into the industry. Being able to attend industry events around the world and also planning our own has put us at the forefront of the industry. I have met and worked with so many great people over the past 8 years and the opportunity to travel means I get to meet so many more. It’s a great industry to work in and nice to see lots more younger people joining the industry! There are so many family businesses in this industry and it’s nice to see the knowledge being passed down to the younger generations and seeing these people representing their companies.”
Sandy Kaminski from CW Bearing GmbH, a manufacturer member of BearingNet, was originally working in the film industry, but saw longevity in her role at CW Bearing GmbH in an industrial career.
“It’s an interesting industry to work in and be a part of. It’s difficult, there is a lot to learn, study and understand, but I really enjoy travelling with my work and the people I work with. The majority of staff are under 30.”
The Industrial Careers Pathway (ICP) is an organisation based in the USA who invest in the future of the industrial distribution workforce. They realise that in the coming years the Baby Boomers will continue to enter retirement and understand that it is entry level, millennial candidates that will be the future of our industry. The ICP encourage employers, parents, schools and young people to pursue careers in the industry and have great resources to aid this.
ICP Ambassador Stacy Breland said “If anybody thinks the youth of today is no good, they need to come to something like this. These young people are ready to work and take on leadership roles in the future.”