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Tackling UK engineering and manufacturing skills gaps

Posted on 10 Jun 2024. Edited by: Colin Granger. Read 437 times.
Tackling UK engineering and manufacturing skills gapsDame Judith Hackitt (pictured), who is chairman of Enginuity — a charity dedicated to finding new ways to close the skills gaps in UK engineering and manufacturing — is calling on employers to pledge their support in addressing five key priorities highlighted in Enginuity’s new ‘Manifesto for Change’, which asks for a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach between policymakers, employers, and education providers.

She said: “With the general election date confirmed, now is the time to ensure policymakers and political leaders understand the potential economic impact of the sector’s skills gaps challenges, and back the funding and systems adaptations in the next Parliament and beyond. Make UK, SDE Technology, Automate UK, and the Design and Technology Association are among those that have already pledged their support.”

Enginuity highlights five priority actions that will ‘secure the future of UK engineering and manufacturing and build a world-class sector’. These are: make qualifications and learning more flexible with a focus on key transferable skills; incentivise recruitment in priority industries with skills shortages; ensure that funding for technical and vocational education, standards, and qualifications is commensurate with the critical need to upskill and reskill the engineering and manufacturing workforce; establish a skills observatory using data and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse cross-sector and sector-specific needs; and refine the Apprenticeship Levy in England and make funding systems more transparent for engineering and manufacturing employers throughout the UK.

Dame Judith Hackitt continued: “None of us can know exactly what engineering and manufacturing jobs will look like in the future, but we know they will be different from today’s. Now is the time to act. If we do nothing, the sector will survive, but it will fail to thrive, and we will fail in our endeavour to be a leading global player in engineering and manufacturing.”

Enginuity’s chief executive Ann Watson concluded: “The engineering and manufacturing sector is staring in the face of challenges and opportunities. To meet them head-on, we need employers, training centres, educational institutions, and policymakers to work together. If we act now, we can prepare the existing workforce and attract a whole new generation of engineering talent.”