IET: Less than half of UK businesses think we can build a low carbon economy

A survey of 400 businesses has revealed that only 47% believe the UK has the skills base to create a low carbon economy and re-balance the manufacturing sector.

One in five employers report that they struggle to recruit new engineering graduates. In future, even more engineers will be needed if we are to create a green economy with a vibrant manufacturing sector.

The results come to light as part of an annual skills survey conducted by Europe’s largest professional society for engineers and technologists – the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).

Paul Davies, Head of Policy at the IET, says “There is a significant lack of confidence among engineering employers that the UK can deliver on the government’s ambitions to transform our industrial base. Two fifths of employers already struggle to recruit senior engineers. This is a stark warning that the UK will find it hard to take advantage of the demand for low carbon technologies unless we see some big changes and attract a substantial generation of new engineers very soon.”

With the introduction of a cap on migration, the situation could even get worse than it is now. At present, 20% of professional scientific jobs in the UK are filled by migrants. Without the right number of highly skilled migrants and without the right number of highly skilled graduates, how can employers get the people they need to engineer a low carbon economy?

The full skills report is being launched today in central London at the IET offices on Savoy Place. At the launch, Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle upon Tyne Central will inform IET members that there remains a need for more focus on increasing engineering skills and making the career choice more attractive to young people.

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Notes to editors:

.The annual 2010 IET skills survey is available at

.The IET annual skills survey was conducted in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

.Chi Onwurah MP is a member of the IET and can be interviewed at the event.

.The IET annual skills survey 2010 was conducted in May and June 2010 by telephone conversations with 400 separate UK businesses.

.The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is Europe’s largest professional body of engineers with 150,000 members in 127 countries.

.IET spokespersons are available for interviews and comment.