Stephen Metcalfe MP, Government Envoy for the Year of Engineering campaign
The IET has launched its annual Skills and Demand in Industry report at a Parliamentary reception attended by senior Government ministers, industry and academia.
The event was held jointly with the Government’s Year of Engineering campaign, a cross-government initiative, which aims to tackle the engineering skills gap.
Hosted by IET Chief Executive Nigel Fine and John Hayes CBE MP, Minister of State at the Department for Transport, the event was attended by around 150 people. This included 30 MPs, the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP and HM Government Envoy to the Year of Engineering, Stephen Metcalfe MP. As well as IET Corporate and Academic Partners, guests were able to talk to budding young engineers from the IET’s Faraday and First Lego League education programmes.
Attendees were invited to pledge their support for engineering in a number of ways, including becoming an engineering skills activist, supporting an Engineering Open House Day, creating work experience opportunities and connecting local business, schools and colleges.
The report reveals that 61% of the engineering and technical workforce consider the recruitment of engineering and technical staff with the right skills as a barrier to achieving their business objectives over the next three years. Three-quarters (75%) agree that tackling the skills problem is fundamental to making the Government’s Industrial Strategy viable.
Meanwhile, the majority of businesses (78%) believe that digital technologies and automation in UK engineering and technology sectors will advance rapidly over the next five to 10 years, yet only 30% have firm plans to introduce or extend their use of digital technologies in the next three years.
87% of companies surveyed do not have LGBT/BAME diversity initiatives in place and only 15% make particular efforts to attract and retain women in engineering and technical roles (beyond observing statutory equality requirements).
Joanna Cox, IET Head of Policy, said: “Engineering has the potential to make a huge contribution to increasing productivity in the UK. With many high value jobs being created through digitisation, we need more young people to see the exciting opportunities engineering presents. Businesses also need to widen their talent pool, and see the benefits that come from a more balanced and diverse workforce.”