Report offers ‘clear way forward’ to close engineering skills gap.
The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has published Professor John Perkins’ Review of Engineering Skills today, outlining recommendations and actions to address both short and long-term engineering skills issues.
The IET has played a leading role, together with the Royal Academy of Engineering, in advising BIS on much of the content of the report – using its expertise to recommend what needs to be done by Government, industry, universities, schools and parents to attract more young people, particularly girls, to a future career in engineering.
IET principal policy advisor Stephanie Fernandes, who, together with other IET staff, was acknowledged for contributing to the report, said: “Given the IET’s commitment to closing the engineering skills gap, this has been a valuable opportunity to help shape and lead the way we tackle this important issue in the future.” You can hear more from Stephanie in this YouTube video.
In response to the report, IET chief executive Nigel Fine said: “We welcome the Perkins’ Review: its recommendations offer a clear way forward to close the engineering skills gap. The IET has worked for many years to highlight to policy makers, academia and employers that this skills gap needs urgent attention, so it’s heartening that the Review focuses on galvanising all these parties into action to deliver its recommendations. Only an ‘all hands on deck’ approach can address the problem with conviction.
“We look forward to building on our existing IET initiatives and working with others in the engineering community to agree the best way to inspire the next generation of engineers. As the report highlights, there are also other practical things we must all continue to do, or do more of: support Trailblazers and other high-level Apprenticeships; encourage employers to provide more, and better quality, work experience for students; and find more innovative ways to raise the profile of engineering among university students. These are strong proposals and the IET applauds them.”
IET representatives at the launch of the report in London this morning included Nigel Fine, Stephanie Fernandes (pictured here on Twitter with Professor John Perkins and business secretary Vince Cable), and members Yewande Akinola and Roma Agrawal, who were both recognised in the 2012 Young Woman Engineer of the Year Awards.
Equalities minister Jo Swinson referred to Yewande and Roma as great examples of how exciting engineering can be. She also made a plea to the media to help change the way engineering is portrayed.
Vince Cable said the Review is at the heart of the Government’s industrial strategy, and talked about how half of the UK's state schools do not have a single girl studying physics at A Level.
Professor John Perkins said he was “hugely encouraged” by the appetite for collaboration on closing the skills gap, and “optimistic that further progress is possible”.
The report has been launched as part of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, an initiative by Tomorrow’s Engineers, BIS, and a number of partners including the IET, to promote engineering as a career choice for young people.
Leading up to the week, the IET organised a successful parliamentary event, which saw 67 cross-party UK MPs sign an IET pledge to support young engineers, especially women, in their constituencies.
One of the recommendations of the Perkins’ Review was for Tomorrow’s Engineers Week to be an annual event.
To celebrate the week, the IET is also releasing a set of five videos - one for each day - to highlight why engineering is such a good career choice, and also some of the work the Institution does to inspire the next generation of engineers and technicians.