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Campaign to tackle work experience concerns

Skills

A campaign encouraging more work experience opportunities for engineering students has been launched after concerns over low-skilled graduates were highlighted in a new report.

According to the 2016 Skills and Demand in Industry report published by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) today, 62% of engineering employers said graduates lack the right skills for the workplace while 68% were worried the education system will struggle to provide the right skills for the future.

To improve the talent pool of engineers and technicians, 91% of companies agreed that more employers needed to provide work experience for those in education or training.

In response to the findings, the IET has launched its “Engineering Work Experience for All” campaign which encourages employers and universities to work together to provide quality work experience for students.

“Demand for engineers is high but the report reveals deeper concern than ever around the skills and experience of our future workforce,” said IET president Naomi Climer.

“As we are facing an engineering shortfall in the next decade and some uncertainty around skills following Brexit, it is more important than ever that we develop the next generation of ‘home grown’ engineering and technology talent.

“Employers and educators must continue to strengthen their working relationships to ensure that the work experience they offer is designed with the skills gaps in mind.

“We also want to draw attention to the importance of continuing professional development in a world where technology is changing fast – and of having clear plans to create a more diverse workforce.”

The IET skills report is in its 11th year and is based on extended telephone interviews with more than 400 engineering employers across the UK.

Skills and Demand in Industry report findings

Education, employment and skills gaps

  • 52% of employers are currently seeking new engineering and technology recruits
  • 57% are currently experiencing, or have recently experienced, problems recruiting senior engineers with five to 10 years’ experience
  • 50% find that a typical new engineering and technology recruit does not meet their reasonable expectations.

Engineering work experience

  • 76% of employers agreed that compelling all engineering and technology companies to provide work experience would improve the pool of engineering talent
  • 53% did not know how the apprenticeship levy could benefit their organisation.

Diversity and inclusion

  • 9% of the UK engineering and technology workforce are female
  • 63% of businesses do not have gender diversity initiatives in place (increased from 57% in 2015)
  • 73% do not have LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) or ethnic diversity initiatives in place
  • 40% of employers agreed that their organisation could do more to recruit people from diverse backgrounds.

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