New report: Local authorities a ‘key player’ in addressing regional skills shortages

The UK economy suffers a loss of £1.5bn per year due to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills shortages.

This not only represents a loss in terms of the UK’s prosperity but also for young people and adults in learning skills, working in more skilled employment, and potentially pioneering new technologies which will, in turn, benefit wider society.

The IET report Addressing the STEM skills shortage challenge shows how local authorities can play a leading role in facilitating regional skills demand and supply by creating skills programmes to train workers in local areas as well as examining the related challenges.

It also points to the critical roles of employers, the education sector, and agencies to work with government in a joined-up approach to ensure the right skills and training are available for the adoption of new technologies as they emerge.

Darren Capes, Chair of the IET’s Transport Policy Panel, said: “The IET evidences that 60% of members felt they were unable to deliver the objectives set in the Industrial Strategy due to acute skill shortages.

“It’s clear that the rapid rate of technological innovation requires people to continually update their skills in order to be equipped for new roles influenced by technology.

“In order to solve the skills crisis it is upon all of us in industry, academia, and Government to work together to ensure every person can reach their full potential by equipping them with access to relevant training, good quality careers advice, and providing relevant and beneficial work experience.

“Local authorities have an important role to play on a regional level including encouraging a diverse mix of people into the engineering profession through locally targeted schemes, and working with local education providers to coordinate more training for teachers in the areas of computing and engineering.”

The report also gives recommendations for UK Government to ensure funding is allocated for the quality of training available, not student quotas, a national programme to upskill those already in engineering roles as well as making it easier for small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups to hire and train work experience students.

The IET’s Addressing the STEM skills shortage challenge is available to download now.

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Notes to the Editor

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