While the UK may still be a powerhouse in engineering, a shortage of skilled workers is posing a significant threat to growth and innovation and the long term health of the sector. Considering the turnover of UK engineering enterprises is over £1 trillion – a quarter of the total turnover of all UK enterprises –, the need to bridge the skills gap is critical to prevent a decline in the sector.
In 2015, according to the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) annual survey, the skills gap worsened for the ninth year in a row. Lobbying group EngineeringUK estimated that the shortfall of people that possess the skills required is close to 55,000, which is more than twice the total number of engineering graduates produced by UK universities annually.
There have been a wide range of so called solutions suggested from different parts of the engineering sector and government, but having spent over 70 years in the sector, we have our own opinion based on our own experiences: inspire, educate and train the next generations.
Many leading and experienced engineering companies identify and promote the need for this approach too. Options such as relaxing immigration laws to allow skilled engineers to enter the UK from foreign countries may go some way in resolving the problem in the short term, but it is through education and training that we can ensure the sector’s health in the long term.
A key part of our own business practice is training apprentices. This allows us to pass on the skills we’ve developed over many years to the next generation of dedicated young engineers. Our paid training programme follows a carefully planned schedule and gives apprentices essential, first-hand experience in a busy and challenging engineering environment.
Training programmes such as these, which provide young engineers with the tools they need to build a successful career, have a key role to play in innovation and protecting the future health of the engineering sector.
We are currently on the look out for apprentices, university placement students and graduate interns to join the Dawson Shanahan team. Interested? Learn more about the roles by checking out our recruitment webpage.