Schools and colleges must work together to tackle engineering skills gap

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EMPLOYERS must work with local schools and colleges to tackle the skills gap in engineering, says Angela Rayner MP.

A new report reveals that 61 per cent of employers are unhappy with the engineering skills of graduates and two thirds (66 per cent) are concerned that the education system will struggle to keep up with the skills required for technological change.

Angela Rayner, MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, says employers must get involved with local schools and colleges to develop and encourage greater interest in engineering amongst young people.

64% of employers claim a current shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business.

Angela said: “Demand for engineers in the UK is high, but supply can't keep pace. Employers tell me skills shortages are a major concern.

“Employers need to work with our local schools and colleges to help ensure that young people are ready, both academically and practically, before they start work.

"I also think that they should be supporting and encouraging teachers to spend more time in industry, while employers should be visiting schools, colleges and universities much more."

The Institution of Engineering Technology Chief Executive, Nigel Fine said: “MPs are ideally placed to help get more employers involved with the education system at a local level so that we produce a talent pipeline that can sustain a thriving UK economy.”

Other findings from the report include:

  • 68 per cent are having most difficulty recruiting senior engineers with five to ten years’ experience
  • 75 per cent do not have LGBT/ ethnic diversity initiatives in place
  • 53 per cent feel that Government initiatives for recruiting apprentices are not straightforward
  • 94 per cent recognise they have a responsibility to support employee transition to the workplace
  • Women account for only 9 per cent of the UK engineering workforce – and yet 57% of employers do not have gender diversity initiatives in place.

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