Friday, 18 April 2014
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EngineeringUK report highlights need to double recruit numbers

EngineeringUK has published a report that highlights the need to double the number of annual recruits required to fill engineering positions to 2020.

Its report, Engineering UK 2013 — Executive summary and recommendations, found that engineering companies are projected to have 2.74 million job openings from 2010–20, 1.86 million of which will need engineering skills.

Of these, approximately 87,000 per year will require people with degree (including foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate) qualifications.

Currently, the UK produces 46,000 engineering graduates each year.

EngineeringUK reports that there will also be demand for around 69,000 people qualified at advanced apprenticeship or equivalent level each year, yet around 27,000 UK apprentices a year currently qualify at the appropriate level.

In a statement, Paul Jackson, EngineeringUK chief executive, said: ‘What the report makes clear is the need to lay the groundwork early. This means doubling the numbers of young people studying GCSE physics as part of triple science, growing the numbers of students studying physics A level, and providing robust and consistent careers information for young people that promotes the diversity of engineering careers available, and the variety of routes to those careers.

‘Evidence shows that the collaborative efforts of the engineering community are making an impact. In 2011, just 11 per cent of all 12–16 year olds believed engineering to be a desirable career. This number increased more than four times for young people who had been involved in Tomorrow’s Engineers or The Big Bang Fair.

‘Job prospects in engineering are a good news story. It is crucial, however, that government, business, professional bodies, education and the wider engineering community continue to work together to ensure that the UK has the talent pipeline ready to meet demand.’

Business minister Michael Fallon, said: ‘Engineering is fundamental to the UK’s economic progress, so it’s critical that we ensure there are enough skilled people to meet demand.

‘Last month we announced that the business-run Talent Retention Scheme — which is helping engineers leaving the defence sector to find new jobs — is being extended to students, and we’re continuing to look at various ways to support engineering at all levels, such as engagement in schools, apprenticeships and postgraduate training, including engineering doctorates.’

The announcement by EngineeringUK has been echoed by John Leighton, head of production at Thales in Belfast and new chairman of Semta’s Regional Council in Northern Ireland.

Leighton today urged businesses to invest in youth by recruiting more apprentices, graduates and developing higher level skills.

Research by Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and advanced manufacturing, indicates that 3,000 skilled workers will retire in Northern Ireland by the end of 2016 and a further 6,700 employees need to improve their skills.

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