Engineering industry body EngineeringUK has warned of a significant shortage of engineering professionals, and claims that meeting the shortage would generate an extra £27 billion for the UK economy from 2022.
The news came from a new report into the UK engineering industry, The State of Engineering, which is an extension of a previous report, Working Futures 2012-2022, and examines in detail the problem of engineering workforce requirements, as well as including several calls for action.
In the report, the body says that from 2012-2022, engineering firms will need to recruit 182,000 skilled professionals at all levels per year to ensure requirements are met. 56,000 of those will be needed at an advanced apprenticeship level, while 107,000 will require an HND or above.
At present however, only 26,000 workers are enrolling on advanced apprenticeships, while just 82,000 are studying for an HND or above, leading to an annual shortage of 55,000. With the number of 18 year olds also expected to decrease by 8.9% in 2022, the report says the problems will be further compounded.
A lack of young people choosing to study in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at school, as well as not enough specialist STEM teachers to teach. The report also points to 17% of STEM teachers viewing engineering as a desirable career, with 36% feeling confident in giving advice about engineering careers.
The report says that: “If we are to meet the future UK demand for skilled engineers, the fundamental challenge is to dramatically increase the numbers of students studying and progressing in STEM subjects throughout the education sector, all the way from schools, further education colleges and universities. At the same time, we need to inspire them to pursue careers in engineering,”
The report makes five recommendations, including doubling the number of engineering graduates, young people studying GSCE Physics and the number of people completing the number of advanced apprenticeships in related areas. Better career advice for engineering careers is also called for.
Several “calls for action” are also made, including a coordinated approach between the government and the engineering, business and education sectors to ensure that the need for maths and physics teachers is met, encouraging women to enter the sector, and delivering joined-up, easy-to-follow academic and vocational pathways to enter engineering.
The report can be seen at http://www.engineeringuk.com/Research/Engineering_UK_Report_2015/