Listen to the CBI

1 min read

Richard Lambert, the CBI director-general, was right to recently highlight the threat posed to the UK economy from the growing shortage of skilled engineers in the UK. I agree with him that changes to educational incentives at all levels are needed to produce a greater supply of labour in the future.

Britain does not produce enough engineers and the problem is getting worse, with employers consistently having to recruit from abroad. Unfortunately, young people still do not see engineering as a career of choice when, in reality, it is an area of massive opportunity.

New nuclear power stations and big infrastructure projects such as Crossrail are rightly highlighted by Lambert as examples of projects where skills are likely to be filled from abroad.

However, in the automotive and aerospace industries the problem is more critical. The next generation of planes and cars are now under development, but a lack of skilled engineers here may force businesses to move to where skilled labour is readily available. The impact of this on UK PLC could be disastrous, with businesses unlikely to return once they have moved away.

To compete in the engineering sector in the future we need to take the bold steps suggested by the CBI now. We must also take the opportunity to use projects such as Crossrail, the Olympics and the development of new, greener cars to inspire young people to pursue careers in engineering.

Jonathan Lee

Jonathan Lee Recruitment