Any initiative or campaign within the UK needs support and backing from influential parties to succeed, and the call to raise the profile of engineering within society is no different. Whilst this campaign has already attracted the backing of many prominent individuals, such as James Dyson, there is a real need to secure support on a more widespread level too, and the Institute of Engineering and Technology is beginning to turn to MPs with greater regularity to achieve that goal.
Working with MPs
According to The Telegraph, the Institute is urging MPs to ‘play their parts’ in assuaging the engineering and technical skills gap, specifically by working alongside schools in their local areas. This proposal is part of an ongoing effort to obtain at least 87,000 new UK engineers on a yearly basis, which is a worryingly tall order given the fact that more than 50% of employers are finding it hard to recruit enough technical staff to meet their growing needs.
Almost 60% of companies harbour concerns that an engineering shortage could have drastic and negative consequences upon their businesses, and many more are concerned that the candidates who are available are simply not up to scratch. As a result of this situation, MPs are being targeted as having a crucial role to play with regards to promoting ‘engineering as an appealing career choice to young people’.
Beating the Skill Shortage
Given the fact that MPs possess the power to involve employers within the UK education system, they are capable of having an unprecedented effect upon how pupils perceive engineering. High school disciplines that relate to engineering, such as science and maths, are regularly viewed as being uninteresting or overly taxing, and it is this barrier that needs to be broken down, both through the contributions of MPs and the engineering industry as a whole.
This latest proposal is just one part of a much bigger initiative to kick-start a new age of engineering in the UK, and a £30 million fund has already been released to assist with this. As well as encouraging young people, this sum of money is also intended to serve as an incentive for female candidates, who are another key ‘resource’ that needs to be utilised by the engineering industry. All such developments take time though, so it may be a while before the fruits of these labours become apparent.
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