12 Jul 2024

EngineeringUK urges new UK Government to address STEM skills and workforce shortages

Engineering shortage

EngineeringUK has called on the new government to collaborate with industry to overcome barriers preventing young people from entering the workforce. The current skills shortage in engineering and technology is already hindering growth, and a strategic approach to addressing this issue is essential for supporting ongoing projects and enabling large-scale developments like Great British Energy.

EngineeringUK, along with the National Engineering Policy Centre, is advocating for a National Engineering and Technology Workforce Strategy. The organisation is keen to see the new government fulfil its manifesto commitments to develop workforce and training plans and a post-16 education strategy, ensuring that more young people gain access to apprenticeships and other training opportunities.

The Labour manifesto also pledged to improve careers education, including recruiting an additional 1000 careers advisers, broadening the curriculum, and addressing STEM teacher recruitment and retention. With the number of STEM teacher vacancies rising from around 1,300 to over 1,600 in the past year, EngineeringUK is urging the government to invest in teacher professional development. Research indicates that such investment can significantly extend teaching careers.

Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of EngineeringUK, commented: “As the new government has rightly recognised, we need to nurture a greater pool of talent in engineering and technology, including more apprenticeship opportunities for young people, to meet current demand and help our economy thrive while achieving our net zero goal.

“We have long advocated for a national engineering and technology workforce strategy to streamline coherent action, replacing the current fragmented approach where different areas develop their own solutions in isolation, sometimes effectively in competition.

“To address future skills shortages, the workforce strategy must be linked to a comprehensive education and skills plan, underpinned by enhanced careers advice in schools and an urgent solution to current STEM teacher shortages. We will support the new government in taking action to turbocharge the sector.”

Company info: Engineering UK