Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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MP Stephen Metcalfe concerned about skills gap in engineering for Thurrock students

Stephen Metcalfe MP for South Basildon & East Thurrock is supporting a call for employers in the area to work with universities – and schools and colleges – to tackle the engineering skills gap, following the launch of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s (IET), 2015 Skills & Demand in Industry report.

The report reveals that 61 per cent of employers are least satisfied with skills among graduates – and that two thirds (66 per cent) are concerned that the education system will struggle to keep up with the skills required for technological change. The report also highlights that while over half (53 per cent) of employers say they are recruiting engineering staff this year, 64% claim a shortage of engineers in the UK is a threat to their business.

The 2015 Skills & Demand in Industry report was formally launched at an event at Parliament on Wednesday 21 October. All 650 MPs were invited to the parliamentary reception to support the recommendations made in the report and to urge employers in their constituencies to work proactively with universities.

IET Chief Executive, Nigel Fine, explains: “Demand for engineers in the UK remains high, with supply unable to keep pace – and employers continuing to highlight skills shortages as a major concern.

“Stronger and deeper collaboration between employers and academic institutions is needed to agree practical steps to ensure that young people are suitably prepared both academically and practically before they start work. Supporting and encouraging teachers and academics to spend time in industry – and employers to visit schools, colleges and universities – would also be hugely beneficial.

“MPs are ideally placed to help us capitalise on this opportunity by helping to 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.”

This is the tenth year that the IET has published its skills report and the role of education comes under the spotlight, together with ongoing diversity issues in engineering and a lack of both available graduates and more experienced engineering staff.

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.

MPs also had the opportunity to have themselves 3D printed with the help of this year’s IET Faraday Challenge Day winners and they also met winners of the IET’s First Lego League competition. Competitions like the FIRST®LEGO® League inspire young people to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects – helping to address the skills challenge highlighted by the IET’s Skills and Demand in Industry report.

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