Failure to meet demand for engineering skills will cost UK £27bn a year

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Filling the demand for new engineering jobs will generate an additional £27 billion per year for the UK economy from 2022, the equivalent of building 1,800 schools or 110 hospitals, according to new research published in Engineering UK 2015 The State of Engineering. To meet projected employer demand the number of engineering apprentices and graduates entering the industry will need to double.

The report, produced by EngineeringUK, analyses the engineering industry’s capacity and capability for growth and details engineering in education, training and employment. It shows that engineering accounts for a quarter (24.9%) of UK turnover – 9% higher than at the start of the recession. However, we need more engineers. Engineering companies will need 182,000 people per year with engineering skills in the decade to 2022 but there is a current annual shortfall of 55,000 skilled workers.

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive, EngineeringUK, said:

‘Engineering is a vital part of the UK economy, not just in terms of significant turnover but also with regards employment. For every new engineering role an additional 2 jobs are created in the economy. The engineering community is increasingly involved in a collective drive to inspire the next generation, who will ensure the continued growth and success of the industry in the UK. This collaborative work must continue if we are to come even close to realising engineering’s potential.’

Miranda Davies, Director of Emerging Talent at engineering company Thales, said:

‘Britain is great at engineering but this will not continue if we don’t address the massive shortage of skills. We need young people to understand our industry better, to see the range of careers available and to be excited by where engineering could take them. We support the call for collaborative action across Government, business, the education sector and the wider engineering community to address the shortage of engineering skills.’

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said:

‘A strong British engineering sector is vital to the long term sustainability of our economic recovery, and increasing the supply of engineers is at the heart of this. In Government, we’re working hard to make sure we have the skills we need in 2022 and beyond, but we need to work with industry to make sure we inspire the engineers of tomorrow, today.’

On behalf of the engineering community EngineeringUK makes the following calls for collaborative action across government, engineering businesses, the education sector and the wider engineering community to realise these recommendations:

  • A doubling of the number of young people studying GCSE physics as part of triple sciences.
  • A two-fold increase in the number of Advanced Apprenticeship achievements.
  • Either a doubling of the number of engineering graduates or a 50% increase in the number of engineering and technology and  other related STEM as well as non-STEM graduates who are known to enter engineering companies.
  • Provision of careers inspiration for all 11-14 year olds.
  • Support for teachers and careers advisors delivering careers information.

The Engineering UK 2015 The State of Engineering (#EngUK15) report is available from www.engineeringuk.com.

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