More than 50,000 extra skilled engineers need to be found every year to meet demand and prevent a hole in the UK economy, researchers have claimed.
Not-for-profit body EngineeringUK said firms would have 182,000 vacancies for people with engineering skills every year to 2022.
But its study, Engineering UK 2015: The State of Engineering, said just 127,000 of these were likely to be filled under current plans.
The body said closing this gap could generate £27bn for the UK economy – but that the number of apprentices and graduates entering the sector would have to double.
EngineeringUK chief executive Paul Jackson said: “Engineering is a vital part of the UK economy, not just in terms of significant turnover but also with regards to employment.
“For every new engineering role, an additional two jobs are created in the economy. The engineering community is increasingly involved in a collective drive to inspire the next generation, who will ensure the continued growth and success of the industry in the UK. This collaborative work must continue if we are to come even close to realising engineering’s potential.”
Business secretary Vince Cable backed the report.
“A strong British engineering sector is vital to the long term sustainability of our economic recovery, and increasing the supply of engineers is at the heart of this,” he said.
“In government, we’re working hard to make sure we have the skills we need in 2022 and beyond, but we need to work with industry to make sure we inspire the engineers of tomorrow, today.”