How can we tackle the skills gap in the UK in the next decade?

The UK has been a world leader in innovation and engineering for centuries. Look at the way industries gradually developed, from ship building and locomotives to the advent of the industrial revolution and everything that came from that.

These innovations were built on imagination and invention and offered huge opportunities for people to learn and train to become engineers themselves, as well as gave thousands upon thousands of people work.

There are some who, understandably, question whether there is a skills gap in the UK in relation to engineering. It’s a good question, and one that needs to be addressed. As the UK has been pre-eminent in so many areas of engineering work, it is crucial that government and businesses support the science, technical and engineering capabilities of the nation.

Engineers do not grow on trees; scientists would wither on the vine if they weren’t initially encouraged to take up physics, biology or chemistry; IT would be hard pressed to keep up with ever-evolving ideas and technology if there was no training in place.

Growing the economy

If the UK wants to continue to produce world-class engineers and technological experts, then it needs to invest in them. Global competition from emerging nations means that the UK cannot afford to rest on its laurels. Colleges, universities and businesses throughout the world are investing in apprenticeships and training courses to equip their young people in particular with the skills needed to support and advance their economies. There is no reason that the UK cannot compete here.

Success for business

It can be hard for businesses to make things work when the economy is tough. However, a prime example is the aerospace company Meggitt, which is forging ahead. Under the leadership of Sir Nigel Rudd, Meggitt chairman, its additional interests in the energy and defence markets have made it an important player on the global scene.

Engineering is a key to the company’s success, and it makes the continued development of training and apprenticeship opportunities an important part of how the UK develops those specific training options.

Training for the future

The UK economy needs well-trained and motivated workers in the engineering and tech industries. This can only be done by investment in areas such as adult education and learning that specifically address the needs that the science, engineering and technology sectors require.

Good training strategies are essential to ensure that the UK’s future engineers and science specialists will have the knowledge and resources to support the country’s tech infrastructure; this will also help produce both employees and employers who understand what has to be done in a business and can then carry it out.

Filling the skill gaps

Untrained workers can be a real problem for a business. Conversely, investing in highly trained engineers and technical experts can make a real difference to how a business can operate successfully and profitably.

Britain has always been a world-class engineering industry. By investing in the education of the nation’s future engineers, scientists and technological experts, the UK will continue to remain one of the top players in the world market.