Is the UK shortage of ENGineering talent hampering our Low Carbon Commitments

With 2020 looming, ENGenerate has previously reported on the UK leading the way on low carbon targets against some of its European counterparts however with staffing demographics pushing towards retirement what does the long-term pipeline of talent look like within an industry trying to future-proof our planet.

For years employers have warned of an acute shortage of skilled engineers at all levels, and EngineeringUK has recently said the country needs 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025.

What are the key factors for our continued shortfall of talent?

  • There are pockets of skill shortages for essential professions and increasing global demand for such skills.
  • Engineering graduates and technicians are in high demand from other sectors.
  • Replacement of retirees affects the sector more than the rest of the UK economy as the proportion of older workers is higher than average.
  • The Lack of diversity with the number of female engineers remain frustratingly low.

If we just concentrate on the lack of throughput at a school level many things can be done to improve the perception and attractiveness of a career in Engineering.

By the time school leavers are offered an insight into Engineering it is already too late to sway them that a career in our sector is viable.

Engaging children in STEM activities earlier in their education with teachers parents and industry promoting and improving the perception clean modern Engineering techniques against that of a more male orientated picture of traditional engineering, caked in grease or billowing factory smoke.

Many school children are neither exposed to what a potential a career in Engineering may hold with work experience not compulsory and many engineering companies not taking pupils because of health and safety fears.

The new apprenticeship legislation and the introduction of new standards for the work-based training have given an opportunity to employers to not only recruit new talent but train their existing workforce so its integral for employers and take advantage of subsidies paid on a use it or lose it basis.

 

Numbers of young women embarking upon engineering apprenticeships also remain frustratingly and in many cases, employers need to change their culture to enable this to happen, however many are now introducing formal schemes to encourage diversity, and offering policies such as flexible working.

 

SEMTA along with the Energy & Utilities skills group is, through many initiatives and programmes are championing the throughput of talent in the Engineering sector, however, early adoption and a change in perception of the industry as a whole may be more of what is required to future proof our push for a green revolution.

 

Is the UK shortage of ENGineering talent hampering our Low Carbon Commitments

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