Skills for every single type of engineering are in short supply, from mechanical to software, civil to electrical.
The Royal Academy of Engineering estimates that the STEM sectors need 160,000 engineers, scientists and technicians per year by 2020 to maintain future competitiveness in the global economy.
Much of this shortage will be addressed by ensuring that new recruits have the skills needed by industry, and by unblocking the talent ‘pipeline’ which hinders women in particular from staying in STEM careers.
But now a new campaign, For Business For Life, is focusing on improving the skills of those already in work but who lack those they need to climb the career ladder.
The body behind the campaign, the National Consortium of Colleges and Providers (NCCP), says that employees all over the country are stuck in low-paid, low-skill jobs because they lack the literacy and numeracy skills they need.
They may have failed at school, or – more typically – they may simply have forgotten what they learnt 15 or 20 years ago.
NCCP Chairman Harvey Young says: ‘It’s fantastic there’s so much government and media focus on apprenticeships, which are about getting young people into work. But we want to see more attention given to those already in employment who may not be work ready, and whose lack of confidence in the key areas of English and maths is holding them – and their employers – back.
‘As providers, we have seen first hand the transformative effect of improved Basic Skills on employees of all ages. Some may have slipped through the net at school, but so many have simply forgotten what they have learnt. Our experience is that the vast majority of those in the workplace benefit from Basic Skills training – not just those who are aware that their English and maths are not up to scratch.’
And, says Mr Young, the beauty of Basic Skills is that the training can be ‘wrapped around’ the needs of the individual business.
‘It might be report-writing or something numeracy- or technology-related, so employees are acquiring the specific skills each particular business needs in addition to improving their writing and maths skills.
It’s a case of use it or lose it, says Mr Young.
How the funding works
Basic Skills training is fully funded via the EU’s European Social Fund. And small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) receive £800 per learner for the first three learners that complete Basic Skills English or maths training, £400 at the start of the training and £400 when completed.
Find out more at http://www.ncc.ac.uk/
Follow For Business for Life @NCCP12