UK Engineering Sector Challenged to Draw in Young People

Friday, June 24, 2011

 UK engineering chiefs gathered at the Department for Education on Wednesday 8 June to discuss what can be done to ensure the talent pipeline and adequately equip young people for the requirements of industry.

Organised by EngineeringUK, Schools Minister Nick Gibb MP addressed a high-level roundtable attended by representatives from EngineeringUK, E.ON, BAE Systems, JCB, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford of Britain, the ODA, GKN, Rolls Royce, ICW UK, the Royal Academy of Engineering and Pearson UK.
With almost half a million engineering enterprises in the UK, employing 4.5 million people, the engineering industry is one of the most significant drivers of the UK economy today. Demand is such that the UK needs to recruit an additional 587,000 workers between 2007 – 2017; however, falling numbers of young people available to work mean that the sector must act now to identify opportunities to attract and retain engineering talent.
EngineeringUK’s own research shows that young people’s enthusiasm for science learning dips in Year 8, the crucial decision making moment for their future career path.  More needs to be done to create excitement and revitalise young people’s perception of engineering, and to provide a route-map that takes  young people from early years learning right through to vocational training or their degree.
Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, said: “The meeting demonstrated the importance of collaboration between engineering business and the public sector. The businesses represented already play a significant role in education - through outreach projects with schools, work placements, apprenticeships and indeed the ongoing training and development of their staff. As the future employers of today’s young people, they are well placed to help improve the content of the curriculum to meet the needs of our future engineers – via enhanced design and technology teaching, for instance. By working together to lay a path for young people, from school to career destination, we will ensure that young people are inspired, obtain the right skills and understand how to make the transition from science to engineering. 
“The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair is an example of what can be achieved when Government, industry and education work together with the mutual aim of inspiring the future workforce.  Our plans should involve development of industry links with schools and UTC s and hands-on vocational activities, underpinned by high quality Careers Information Advice and Guidance. Applying this joined-up approach will be key to our success in empowering young people to choose careers in engineering.”
Nick Gibb MP, Schools Minister, said: “The Government is committed to building a robust engineering and advanced manufacturing industry in the UK.  The sector forms the backbone of industry in the UK and plays a significant part in our economy.  Engineers harness the forces of nature for the benefit of mankind – they can and do change the world.  I hope the engineering industry can help us to encourage young people to continue to study maths and the sciences and inspire them to consider a rewarding and demanding career in engineering.”  
EngineeringUK is an independent organisation that promotes the vital contribution of engineers, engineering and technology in our society. For more information about EngineeringUK visit

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