Industry minister John Battle this week made a renewed appeal to Britain’s top engineering companies to back an industry-wide TV advertising campaign to promote engineering careers.
His comments came as the project – funded by the EEF, the Engineering Council and engineering training bodies EMTA and ECITB – faces collapse, in the absence of firm commitment from industry of funding to meet air time and production costs.
`I would just exhort those who have not stepped far enough forward to do so,’ Battle told The Engineer at the EMO international machine tool show in Paris this week. `If one or two of the biggest companies were to do this then perhaps the ice floes would start to crack, and it’s in everybody’s interests that this happens.’
He acknowledged some of the biggest blue-chip firms were taking steps to generate local interest in engineering. `But they are starting to see local skills shortages,’ he said.
The TV campaign, which could cost up to £25m over five years, is designed to encourage teenagers to opt for science and technology subjects at school. Similar campaigns in teaching and for careers in the services have met with success, the project backers claim.
Battle has pledged that government support for the scheme, which stands at £250,000, will be stepped up if industry funding is won.
* News Analysis, p12