IET: Autumn Statement: “Skills gap is a challenge that won’t go away overnight”

Engineering and technology must remain a long-term priority for the Government says the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in response to the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Paul Davies, IET Head of Policy, said: “Science, engineering and technology have fared well in the Autumn Statement.  This shows that the issue is high on the Government agenda and recognises the importance these fields have to the British economy. But we must ensure that they remain there for years to come as the skills gap is a challenge that won’t go away overnight.

“The Government must not be complacent and will need to monitor that the extra funding for teaching science, technology and engineering, and the increase in Apprenticeships, translates into talented, qualified and skilled engineers who can fill the critical skills shortage that we face in the industry today.”

“The announcement of £40m funding for 20,000 more Higher Apprenticeships is particularly welcome news but reforms of Apprenticeships must include mechanisms to ensure SMEs – the lifeblood of the economy – are not priced out of the market.”

Computer studies for primary schools
“We are encouraged by the announcement of £1 million for computing in primary schools, which represents a significant step to help inspire an interest in computer science from a young age. It is vital to ensure that children are encouraged to learn computing skills, including programming and the application of computers in the modern world at an early age.

“However, to do this, their teachers must also be supported. Motivating teachers and giving them confidence to implement the new computing curriculum will in turn support pupils to gain the technical skills they need to succeed in a digital age.”

Role of professional engineering institutions
“Engineering and technology organisations like the IET will continue to play their role in tackling the skills shortage. For example, our scholarships this year have provided over £1 million to celebrate excellence and research and encourage the next generation of engineers.”


Notes to editors:

§  Interview opportunities are available with IET spokespeople from a broad range of engineering and technology disciplines including cyber-security, energy, engineering skills, innovation, manufacturing, technology, transport and women in engineering.

§  The IET is one of the world’s largest organisations for engineers and technicians.  We have nearly 160,000 members in 127 countries around the world.

§  The IET is working to engineer a better world. We inspire, inform and influence the global engineering community, supporting technology innovation to meet the needs of society.

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