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Last updated: 13.01.15

Lack of engineering skills may cost UK economy £27bn

Failing to address the engineering skills gap in the UK could cost the economy £27 billion, industry research has suggested.

According to Engineering UK, 1.82 million jobs will need to be filled between 2012 and 2022 in order to meet the demand for engineering roles nationwide.

The report, published in Engineering UK 2015 The State of Engineering, analysed the extent to which the engineering industry is capable of growth, covering its involvement in education, training and employment.

It revealed that engineering is responsible for a quarter (24.9 per cent) of UK turnover - marking an increase of nine per cent since the start of the economic recession.

However, the report also showed that at present, there is an annual shortfall of 55,000 skilled workers within the industry.

In a bid to address this, Engineering UK urges the government, engineering firms and education leaders to work together to support the rollout of a number of initiatives. For example, increasing the number of people undertaking apprenticeships and engineering degrees, or creating opportunities for children aged between 11 and 14 to have an engineering experience with an employer, which would highlight the value of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at school.

Miranda Davies, director of emerging talent at engineering company Thales, said: "Britain is great at engineering but this will not continue if we don't address the massive shortage of skills. We need young people to understand our industry better, to see the range of careers available and to be excited by where engineering could take them.

"We support the call for collaborative action across government, business, the education sector and the wider engineering community to address the shortage of engineering skills."

Business secretary Vince Cable believes that increasing the number of women in the industry is crucial.

He added that the UK will only be able to meet the demand for engineering roles once the issue of gender diversity has been overcome.

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