UK skills shortages have sent engineering firms on a global recruitment drive for high-calibre graduate trainees from as far afield as Eastern Europe and India.
Over the past 18 months growing numbers of UK employers have been forced to look further afield for engineering graduates, who remain in short supply here.
They have commissioned recruitment specialists to search Asian and Eastern European universities in the hope of filling vacancies.
Students from India come from a highly entrepreneurial culture which places a high value on education in the face of a huge disparities in wealth, while in Eastern Europe at least one in three shopfloor workers has studied to degree level.
`There just aren’t enough trained engineers in the UK,’ Gordon Scott, director of the Engineering Employers’ Federation’s Sheffield association, said.
`The trend can only be stopped by industry reversing its unfashionable image. We’ve got to emphasise that an engineer can work on anything from a world famine crisis to helping a Tornado jet fly.’