in Aerospace / Defence

UK manufacturers call on Government to close skills gap

Posted 17 May 2017 · Add Comment

The UK manufacturing industry is calling on Government to step up and do more to encourage young people to consider engineering as a career and thereby help close the ongoing skills gap.

This is according to a new poll of over 600 industry professionals commissioned by the UK’s manufacturing supply chain show, Subcon (taking place 6-8 June 2017 at NEC, Birmingham) and industry trade magazine The Engineer.

The survey revealed that:
•       67% of UK manufacturers are worried about the future availability of skilled staff for their business
•       72% don’t believe Government is doing enough to promote skills training
•       83% believe there are not enough young people working in UK manufacturing and engineering
•       88% claim engineering is a good career choice for young people
•       90% claim the industry would benefit from more young people working within it
•       Just 54%t currently train apprentices
•       40% don’t know whether The Apprenticeship Levy (introduced on 6 April 2017) is a good thing

In response to the estimate that the UK needs an additional 1.8 million engineers by 2020, Government has introduced The Apprenticeship Levy, and announced £170 million worth of investment in technology institutes as part of its Industrial Strategy and the introduction of T-Levels. Despite this, nearly three quarters of manufacturing professionals believe Government could do more, specifically with regards education. 

When asked what industry and the Government can do to encourage more young people to consider manufacturing as a career, the top five answers polled were:
1. Increase and improve education at school level
2. Invest in apprenticeship training
3. Promote potential career progression and opportunities
4. Increase pay at all levels
5. Improve the image of the industry

Sid Shaikh, Engineering R&D Manager, Ocado commented: “The engineering skills gap is the biggest challenge facing the UK manufacturing industry right now. If Government is to encourage more young people to work in the industry, we should introduce engineering qualifications earlier in the education process, create targeted promotion and incentives for women and young people to take the Engineering GCSE, and create a culture that is more welcoming to new starters that are keen to learn.”

Alan Pendry, Associate Professor of Advanced Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering and the Built Environment at Birmingham City University said: “Apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships are an excellent opportunity for UK companies to grow the essential skills needed by our growing manufacturing industry and to take us into the fourth industrial revolution. If I were in Government and wanted to encourage more young people and women into engineering, I would get rid of ‘career politicians’ and replace the cabinet with engineers: 50 per cent male and 50% female, educate school teachers as to what engineering and manufacturing in the 21st century is and promote positive action without the perceived fear of discrimination in the appointment of women to engineering posts.”

Jon Excell (left), Editor, The Engineer : “The skills shortage is a major issue. The Government is doing a bit to help and the investment in technology institutes, and introduction of T-Levels and The Apprenticeship Levy are all welcome developments that will give a lot of people opportunities they haven’t had before as well as broaden the pool that industry can draw on. But there is a slight caveat – and it’s a concern a lot of people have raised – which is that in the rush to meet the target of three million apprentices, we don’t lose sight of the fact that we need high quality apprenticeships for the high value industries that will help drive the economy.

“Of course, there is always more the Government can do, but it’s not just down to Government, industry has an important role to play, too. It needs to get more engaged with education and the school system to inspire the next generation of engineers.”

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

SSTL to build Galileo navigation payloads

Under an Authority to Proceed signed with prime contractor OHB-System AG today, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) is commencing work on building eight navigation payloads for Galileo, Europe's global navigation satellite

EDM produces cabin crew sector infographic

Provider of training simulators to the civil aviation and defence sectors, EDM, announced today that it has produced the aviation industry's first infographic about the cabin crew sector.

First Typhoons delivered to RAFO

The arrival of the first Typhoon aircraft, part of a batch of 12 of the combat jets scheduled to be delivered to the Sultanate of Oman, was marked with a ceremony, held on 21 June 2017 in the presence of the Commander of the Royal Air Force of

Renishaw's Lucy Ackland named one of UK's top 50 female engineers

Lucy Ackland, Senior Development Engineer at global engineering company, Renishaw, has been selected as one of the UK's Top 50 Women in Engineering in 2017.

IndigoVision previews BX Panoramic Dome Camera at IFSEC

IndigoVision this week provided a preview of its new BX Panoramic Dome Camera during IFSEC International 2017, which took place at the ExCel, London, 2022 June.

WEC secures full JOSCAR accreditation

Woodford Engineering Consultancy (WEC) has achieved full accreditation to the Joint Supply Chain Accreditation Register (JOSCAR).

SMI AirMissSK0106130717
See us at
SMI AirMissBT0305251017SMI FAVWS BT0504290617SMI12DE BT203280917DSEI LB0911150917Aviation Africa BT18418SMIUAV BT1005280917