Fixing the Engineering Skill Crisis in The UK

Here at aspire cambridge in addition to other industry and recruitment experts we have seen that we are not alone in noticing a lack of skilled engineering talent coming through the UK. This is a huge concern because engineering is extremely important to the UK and delivers around 20% of the UKs total gross value added, and employees are its lifeblood.

We have seen a strong need for engineering staff of all levels and abilities in a wide number of industries and currently the demand is far outstripping supply so how can the engineering skill crisis in the UK be fixed?

Why Is There An Engineering Skill Crisis in the UK?

Pupils at the age of 16 years old are made to decide on their future career path and it is a choice of arts versus science, this, along with a lack of STEM subject teachers that have enough knowledge or experience of the engineering industry are also impacting the engineering skills crisis but, there are a variety of factors across every stage of schooling, education, workplace environments and even societal perceptions.

Sadly there are outdated perceptions of engineering and even looking on Google you will see that when you search for engineers you will be faced with a male-dominated profession and men in hi-viz jackets and hard hats; adding this to a lack of consistent careers advice at school and more attractive graduate jobs in banking and management consultancy and you will find this all leads to the current lack of engineering skills in the UK.

How Can The Engineering Skill Crisis Be Solved?

There is a chronic failure to get enough young people interested in the career path of engineers and this means that engineering in the UK is facing an insidious threat to its success. For the future prosperity and the economic growth of the UK and the engineering industry it is vitally important that we address this issue sooner, rather than later.

Perhaps the biggest barrier is how a career in engineering is perceived; engineering is so much more than just construction yet this is the general image of engineering jobs. If a graduate has an engineering degree they can be involved in a wide range of sectors and careers such as developing medical technologies, designing sports equipment, advancing artificial intelligence, creating and inventing sustainable energy solutions as just some of the examples of some of the rewarding and incredible roles available in the engineering industry. However, children and students are not made aware of these potential careers that could be available to them.

Schools and colleges are encouraging businesses in the engineering sector to go into schools and talk to students about the opportunities available to them and this is a brilliant way for students to hear from a ‘real person’ the sort of engineering careers available to them in the future; but this is reliant on the businesses going to the students.

Interestingly every young girl or boy is a natural engineer using their imagination to design, change, improve and perfect a den they have made, a new toy or their new invention but through the years of schooling and education these skills and talents are lost.

How can you help to plug the skills gap of the engineering industry?

Have you enjoyed this article? If so, you may wish to read and earlier blog in our series >> “How To Hire Talented Specialists For Your Engineering or Manufacturing Business”.