Engineering Recruitment Needs to Double by the Year 2020

Engineering recruitment needs to double. So says Engineering UK which has just published a report looking forward to the year 2020, based on current forecasts. The total number of engineering jobs that will require fulfilling is 2.74 million, and of this number, 1.86 million are predicted to need recognised engineering qualifications.

Apprenticeship Numbers Need to Rise
Apprenticeships were once highly prized. But over recent decades they have become less sought after as the UK’s manufacturing base shifted offshore. This, coupled with the boom in the new digital information era, meant that many youngsters moved their sights away from careers in the engineering sector. But that trend has over recent years, started to turn once again. Whilst it is true to say that the total number of jobs in general engineering has fallen drastically from the levels of 50s and 60s, the number of engineering companies working at the high precision end of the market has increased. Companies like PRV Engineering are flourishing, and it is in this particular sector of the market that demand is set to escalate.

A Wide Gap to be Bridged
But with the need for apprenticeships said to be rising to 69,000 per annum come the year 2020, and present levels set at only 27,000 per annum, we’ve got a long way to go. And when you look at the graduate level situation, the story is much the same. By 2020, the Engineering UK report predicts that we will need 87,000 graduates per annum. However the current rate of students graduating with a good engineering degree is only 46,000 per annum. It leaves another very wide gap to be bridged if we’re going to get take seriously the fact that engineering recruitment needs to double.

We Need to Prepare the Groundwork Now
If engineering recruitment does need to double as indeed it must, then we must start preparing the groundwork now. So says Paul Jackson, CEO of Engineering UK. We need to:

• Double the amount of students taking GCSE Physics (Triple Science)
• Increase the amount of students taking A level Physics
• Provide more compelling engineering careers information

The Engineering Community Leads the Way
The Engineering community itself is already aware of the fact that engineering recruitment needs to double, and has started the ball rolling. Exhibitions such as the Big Bang Fair, and programs such as Tomorrow’s Engineer, which targets children at school, have helped to more than quadruple the number of young people expressing an interest in a career in engineering.

The Country Expects
Michael Fallon, (Business Minister), expounded the fact that precision engineering is a fundamental part of the UK’s economic future. If engineering recruitment needs to double, then we must do everything within our power to make sure that there will be enough skilled candidates there to meet the demand.

Government Backing
The engineering community has already upped its activities in recognition of the fact that engineering recruitment needs to double by the 2020. The government too are joining in the push. Earlier this year they announced a scheme to provide another 23,000 Higher Apprenticeships. The £25 million that government has made available is to be put to good use, with many blue chip employers now joining the initiative.

CBI boss Neil Carberry was spot on when he advocated that young people must be made aware that on the job training through an apprenticeship, is key to their futures. It’s a great way of learning top class skills while contributing to real output at the same time!

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