Queen’s Speech: Investment is great, but technical education must be seen as an equal, says IET

Professor Tim Dafforn, Chair of the IET’s Innovation and Emerging Technology Panel, said: “The Government’s recognition for the need for more technical skills is important but must focus on the skills needs of the UK in the future. We can fill the gap in the short-term by retraining and reskilling those currently in work, and for the long-term in those who are soon to be in work. The strategy must commit to true lifelong learning, with new and exciting skills being developed, taught and implemented throughout the skills pipeline.

“The IET’s Skills for Net Zero and a Green Recovery survey revealed  that 47% of engineering employers upskill or retrain existing employees, whereas 44% of employers said they would hire people who currently have skills that they need. Concerningly, only 32% said they would recruit apprentices or graduates and provide training in the relevant skills. This shows that there is requirement from Government to help employers provide modular technical qualifications to ensure there is a lifelong commitment to correct and proper training.

“In the same survey, 62% of employers have called for increased innovative thinking skills to deliver a sustainability strategy. With the Government’s net-zero target of 2050, it is right that employers can demand this from potential workers. Government must help academic and industry to create and deliver on skills that the future workforce will need, both technical and soft skills.

The IET’s skills report and its recommendations is available here: theiet.org/skills.

ENDS

Notes to Editor:

About the IET’s ‘Skills for net zero and a green recovery’ survey

The Institution of Engineering and Technology's (IET) annual skills survey this year is focused on the skills requirements for delivering the UK Government's net-zero target by 2050, the subsequent impacts of COVID-19 on engineering employers, difficulties in recruiting and employer perceptions of the engineering skills gap.

This factfile is based on the full report that we commissioned and conducted in partnership with YouGov. Total sample size was 1,010 respondents. The fieldwork was conducted between 7 August and 16 September 2020. The survey was carried out online and results drawn from the YouGov panel of over 1.8 million people in the UK. 

The results of our survey are drawn-up into six categories, exploring the current skills challenges employers are facing, employers' movement towards increased sustainability and how they can respond to future challenges by building skills for a green recovery. 

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