Up to 500,000 engineering and manufacturing workers will be needed in the coming eight years to satisfy demand in the transport, construction, aerospace and defence industries, according to Engineering UK.
A new report highlights barriers to achieving the figure, which include an increasingly sparse pool of talent, a decline in engineering lecturers and fewer students studying for manufacturing and engineering degrees.
Engineering UK predicts more than 350,000 skilled workers will be needed in the transport sector alone by 2017.
The construction industry will look to recruit almost 400,000, while 1,000 new apprentices and graduates will be required every year until 2025 to replace nuclear workers.
Chief executive of Engineering UK, Paul Jackson, said: “We are calling for Government, business and education providers to work together to develop a clear road map for the UK engineering sector.
“Tax breaks and other regulatory incentives for small and medium-sized enterprises will play a significant part, but what really matters is a long-term strategy, detailing all major infrastructure projects for the foreseeable future and inspiring UK engineering with the confidence it needs to invest in new skills and technologies.
“Without the coherence and stability a clear roadmap will bring, the UK will not only miss out on the high-level manufacturing skills it needs to get the economy back on track but could also lose ground to other countries in many highly-competitive global markets.”