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New Government urged to prioritise skills

Posted on 08 Jul 2024. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 404 times.
New Government urged to prioritise skillsWith engineering and technology predicted to grow faster than any other sector between now and 2030, EngineeringUK, the independent, non-profit organisation focused on inspiring future generations to pursue careers in engineering and technology, says it is imperative the new Government works with industry to address barriers standing in the way of young people joining the workforce.

The organisation says that the skills shortage in engineering and technology is already limiting growth. A strategic approach to addressing the problem will support current projects and power large-scale developments such as Great British Energy.

EngineeringUK, along with the National Engineering Policy Centre, are keen to see a National Engineering and Technology Workforce Strategy. “We therefore look forward to the new Government acting on its manifesto commitments to develop workforce and training plans and a post-16 education strategy and ensure that more young people gain access to apprenticeships and other training opportunities.”

The Labour manifesto also pledged to tackle careers education, promising to recruit an extra 1,000 careers advisers, develop a broader curriculum, and address STEM teacher recruitment and retention. With severe and growing STEM teacher shortages – just over 1,600 vacancies compared to around 1,300 a year ago - EngineeringUK is urging the new Government to commit to investing in teacher professional development, which research shows is not just a ‘nice to have’ but can significantly prolong teaching careers.

Hilary Leevers, EngineeringUK chief executive, said: “As the new Government has rightly recognised, we need to nurture a greater pool of talent in engineering and technology including more apprenticeship opportunities for young people, to meet current demand and to help our economy to thrive and to achieve our ‘net zero’ goal. We have been asking for a national engineering and technology workforce strategy for some time to streamline coherent action and replace the current approach of different areas developing their own solutions in isolation, and sometimes, effectively, in competition.

“In order to address skills shortages in the future, the workforce strategy needs to link to a comprehensive education and skills plan underpinned by enhanced careers advice in schools and an urgent solution to current STEM teacher shortages. We will be doing what we can to support the new Government in taking action to turbo charge the sector.”