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2 minute read - 5th June 2024

Call for education, skills & workforce to be gov’t priorities

EngineeringUK has launched its policy priorities for the next government which are centred around 2 key areas: workforce planning and STEM education & skills.

With engineering jobs expected to grow faster than other occupations across the UK between now and 2030, and a lack of people and skills to deliver infrastructure improvements, decarbonisation and growth, the new government needs to urgently address skills shortages and the UK’s changing labour market needs.

Following the publication in May 2023 of Engineering Skills Needs – now and into the future, EngineeringUK wants the next government to take a more strategic approach to addressing skills shortages, and for this to be led by the Cabinet Office. The not-for-profit believes consolidating the work of existing skills taskforces under a new cross-departmental skills committee will encourage collaboration, reduce siloed thinking and support the next government’s ambitions to grow the economy.

EngineeringUK also wants the new government to develop a holistic STEM education and skills plan, which, if acted on, will help deliver the engineering and technology workforce that the UK so urgently needs, which will address issues and concerns in the education sector.

EngineeringUK is calling on the next government to make STEM education, skills & workforce planning a priority to support the engineering & technology job surge / Picture: Getty/iStock

EngineeringUK’s policy priorities for the next government are:

Strategic workforce planning

Establish a national engineering & technology workforce strategy
Ensure a strategic approach to workforce planning based on workforce needs
Enhance diversity in the STEM workforce
Support international talent via appropriate immigration and visa systems
Link STEM education and skills planning to the strategic workforce plan

STEM education and skills plan

Deliver on careers provision
Grow and sustain engineering apprenticeships for young people
Commit to T Levels
Improve STEM teacher recruitment, training and retention

Beatrice Barleon, head of public affairs and policy at EngineeringUK, said: “We are asking the next government to take urgent action on workforce planning and address the critical challenges we are facing over STEM skills and teacher shortages in schools and FE providers. Specifically, we want the new government in its first 100 days in office to commit to a national workforce strategy.

“On apprenticeships and T Levels, we want to see better access for young people and a commitment that T Levels will continue in England. We also need a long-term careers strategy to ensure schools and colleges have the funding and up-to-date knowledge of 21st engineering careers required to support and inspire young people.”

EngineeringUK is calling on the next government to tackle the STEM teacher shortages head on and invest more in continuous professional development training for STEM teachers. Evidence shows this has a positive impact on teacher retention.

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