The UK’s future economic growth will be hindered by a significant experience gap in engineering if good practice for developing technician careers is not adopted more widely, a report has found.
The Experience Gap: the unspoken skills gap looked at examples of clients playing an active part in strengthening skills through their supply chains, companies professionalising their technicians to improve career flexibility, recruitment and retention, and collaborations to improve routes into engineering.
EngTechNow chief executive Blane Judd said: “Engineering underpins the productivity of everything from manufacturing to the postal service, and unless something is done about the experience gap now the UK will struggle to compete internationally.
“We face a technician shortage of 450,000 by 2020. Fortunately, solutions are emerging from forward-thinking infrastructure projects, employers and trade unions, which, if adopted more widely, will see the skills and experience gap overcome.”
Following the report’s release, 13 industry figures signed an EngTechNow charter - two infrastructure projects, nine engineering employers, and two trade unions, each committed to take practical steps to ensure their technicians and apprentices were supported to achieve professional status.
NG Bailey head of group learning and development Frank Clayton said: “There are significant skills gaps that we need to address if the UK is to deliver on its infrastructure investment commitments over the next 10 to 20 years.
“As well as up-skilling those who are already in our industry, we need to help young people get excited by science, technical or engineering careers and invest in skills, apprenticeships and quality training to ensure long-term sustainability – not just for the industry, but also for the wider UK economy.”
The EngTechNow charter signatories are: Amey, Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Crossrail, Doosan Babcock, E.ON, Jaguar Land Rover, NG Bailey, Prospect, QinetiQ, Royal Mail, Thames Tideway, and TSSA.