In 2013, the Government announced an industrial strategy report called Construction 2025. In the document, it recognised the critical role construction plays in the growth of UK and provided suggestions to make the industry more competitive.
Although it is one huge leap for both the Government and the industry, it still hasn’t completely resolved a continuing problem of skills shortage.
According to Engineering UK, the country needs at least 1.8 million more engineers by 2025, but the actual people who decide to follow profession are not enough to match engineers retiring over the next decade.
What are the factors causing or contributing to the problem?
The Institution of Civil Engineers considers the exit of Britain from the EU as one of the biggest possible reasons for the shortage. Just like in other countries with workforce shortage, the easiest way to augment the need is to hire migrants. With the exit, that is certainly easier said than done.
Lack of Experience and Skill
If the UK cannot immediately rely on skilled migrants, it can continue to hire domestic engineers. The problem is many of them still lack the required expertise and experience. In fact, more than 40 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) jobs remain vacant due to this.
To bridge the gap, training even outside the school is necessary. Firms such as Future Engineering Recruitment Ltd have created an apprenticeship program, where it takes in people from all walks of life with the motivation, potential and dream to become engineers.
With the help of mentors, these trainees receive the knowledge and hands-on application they need. Before they enter the workforce, they are already at managerial level.
Lack of Diversity
Women comprise about 47 percent of the labour force in the UK. In the engineering industry, they make up only 7 percent. Besides the archaic idea that it is a man’s job, many women are not fully aware of the benefits and contribution of the profession to their career and the country.
The UK has less than 10 years to make its industrial strategy plan into a reality. Whether it will reach its goals remains questionable. What isn’t is the fact the country needs engineers fast.