IET: Prime Minister announces initiative to create 100,000 Engineering Technicians

The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon David Cameron MP, has announced a new initiative which will help create 100,000 registered Engineering Technicians by 2018. 

Working through new and established apprentice schemes, the initiative aims to create 100,000 Engineering Technicians by giving them structured on-the-job experience built upon a recognised academic qualification. On successful completion of their apprenticeships, and by ensuring the appropriate skills and competencies are reached, each apprentice will be able to attain the globally recognised professional registration designation of Engineering Technician (EngTech).

The initiative has been created by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Gatsby Foundation in response to the emerging skills gap in the engineering and construction sectors. 

Current estimates suggest that the UK needs to double the pipeline of new recruits into engineering, construction and manufacturing professions by 2020 to avoid a severe skills shortage, which could inhibit the growth of these vital UK sectors.

Dr Tony Whitehead, IET Director of Policy, said: “Increasing the pool of home grown technical skills in the UK is good for our economy and good for individuals.

"The pace of technological development in the modern workplace is creating an urgent and growing demand for higher levels of technical skill and professionalism. This initiative will help to meet the need to up-skill and increase the pool of home grown talent. 

"More Engineering Technicians in the workforce will help us to maintain a competitive edge and boost growth in the UK economy through innovation and creativity.”

Professor Barry Clarke, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers said: “If we want world class infrastructure, fit for the 21st Century, we must have a world class engineering workforce to deliver it.

“Engineering Technicians – who exercise very specialist skills and techniques and solve complex problems – form a vital part of the skills mix and ultimately help to deliver projects efficiently and on time.

“Our work to boost the number of Technicians, and ensure they are recognised in society, is crucial if we are to have the right skills to meet the challenges ahead. The much welcomed backing by the Prime Minister today is testimony to its importance.”

Stephen Tetlow, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said of the apprenticeship initiative: "The Institution and its partners are concerned that the number of people pursuing engineering careers is just not enough to meet the current and future demands of the engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors. 

“To help UK companies succeed in this ever-growing competitive global marketplace, we need people with the highest professional skills and abilities. 

“This initiative will ensure that the UK has a growing stream of Engineering Technicians being developed to a level that is recognised and respected around the world.
“We are pleased that Mr Cameron recognises the importance of Engineering Technicians to the UK's engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors."

The Prime Minister also met apprentices from a number of leading manufacturing and construction companies, including Perkins Engines, Caterpillar, Rolls-Royce, MBDA, Halcrow, BBMV, NG Bailey and Mott MacDonald.

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