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Press release

Failure to meet demand for engineering skills will cost Scotland £1.7bn a year

13 January 2015


Demand for engineers is at an all-time high according to a new report published today, which concludes that Scotland will need an additional 147,300 engineers from 2012 - 2022.  These new roles could generate an additional £1.7 billion per year for the Scotland economy.  

The report findings are to be revealed at an Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) event at the Scottish Parliament today, hosted by Stewart Maxwell MSP and with a keynote speech from Annabelle Ewing MSP, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment, to launch the Engineering UK 2015 The State of Engineering report, produced by EngineeringUK.

MSPs attending the event will be asked to sign a pledge to support engineering in their constituencies. Attendees will also include senior industry and education representatives, as well as the IET’s Young Woman Engineer of the Year, Naomi Mitchison, who works as a senior hardware engineer at Selex ES in Edinburgh. A team of schoolchildren from Newburgh Primary School who have won the Edinburgh regional IET FIRST LEGO League competition and will compete in the UK and Ireland Final on 1 February, will also attend. The ‘Burgh Bears’ and their robot, ‘Trevor’, will show how the global robotics competition has engaged them in learning more about STEM (science,engineering and mathematics subjects).

The report shows that turnover from Scottish engineering enterprises is £113.5 billion, which represents 30.4% of total turnover for all Scottish enterprises. But, we need more engineers; engineering companies in Scotland will need 147,300 new engineers between 2012 and 2022.

Nigel Fine, IET Chief Executive, who will outline the report findings at the event, said: “The report shows that Scotland – and Britain – is great at engineering. In fact, there has never been a better time to be an engineer: demand that far outstrips supply, rising salaries and fantastic career prospects are typical characteristics of the engineering profession today.

“Ensuring a pipeline of future engineering talent depends on stronger collaboration between employers and the educational system. We need to bridge the gap between expectations and achievement, in addition to up-skilling the existing workforce to meet demand.

“Above all, we need to take action now – before it is too late. Otherwise we could find ourselves sleepwalking into a deepening skills crisis from which we may struggle to recover.”

The report also highlights the need for careers inspiration for all 11-14 year olds that includes at least one engineering experience with an employer. In parallel, we need support for teachers and careers advisors so they understand the range of opportunities available in engineering.

Media enquiries to:

Hannah Kellett
External Communications Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1438 767336
Mob: +44 (0)7738 602426
Email: HKellett@theiet.org

Notes to editors:

  • Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.
  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most multidisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers. 
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change outdated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.

About EngineeringUK: EngineeringUK is an independent organisation that promotes the vital contribution of engineers, engineering and technology in our society. EngineeringUK partners business and industry, government and the wider science and engineering community: producing evidence on the state of engineering, sharing knowledge within engineering and inspiring young people to choose a career in engineering through programmes Tomorrow’s Engineers and The Big Bang. For more information about EngineeringUK, please visit www.EngineeringUK.com