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Profile raising vital to efforts to head off civils skill shortage

Unless society truly understands the rewards of a career in engineering, the profession will struggle to attract and retain the world class workforce it will needs, the ICE said this week.

The comments followed the launch of EngineeringUK’s flagship annual report on the state of engineering in the UK. It reveals that meeting demand for new engineering jobs could generate an additional £27bn per year for the UK economy from 2022 - the equivalent of building 1,800 schools or 110 hospitals.

The report claims that engineering accounts for 24.9% of UK turnover - 9% higher than at the start of the recession. But it stresses that more engineers are needed. In the decade to 2022, EngineeringUK predicts that engineering companies will need 182,000 people per year with engineering skills, but there is a current annual shortfall of 55,000 skilled workers.

ICE director general, Nick Baveystock, said the report shows the vital importance of engineers of all disciplines to the economy, and highlights the huge scale of the challenge to attract and retain a world class engineering workforce.

Engineering UK launch

Report launch: ICE Northern Ireland hosted a report publication event at Strathearn School in Northern Ireland. Among those present were (left to right) Engineering Training Council chief executive Gillian Winters, Strathern School pupil Rachel Bell, Strathearn School principal David Manning, Department for Employment and Learning permanent secretary, Derek Baker, and ICE Northern Ireland regional director Richard Kirk

“The engineering industry and government are working together closely to achieve change, but the reality is that unless we as a society truly understand the rewards of a career in engineering, we are unlikely to attract the people we need,” he said.

“Maths and science are of course key - but we must also explain that innovation, creativity and problem solving sit at the heart of engineering.

“The ICE will continue to work with EngineeringUK, employers and the government with the aim of delivering a real step change - reaching out to the next generation, inspiring them, challenging perceptions and importantly, ensuring we don’t let other competing nations take our edge.”  

Engineering UK 2015 was launched on a regional basis across the UK, with each launch event hosted by an engineering company or institution.

ICE Northern Ireland director Richard Kirk, hosted a launch event at Strathearn School in Belfast. He said: “Northern Ireland continues to top the UK in STEM subject performance but we are not seeing enough, particularly females, choosing engineering. Within the next decade we will need to create 3,000 additional jobs in engineering, particularly at graduate level. The high demand for skilled engineers and too few entrants is resulting in a severe skills gap and it’s vital that we address the problem now.”

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