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Skill Shortage – nobody is really interested ?!

Posted on 25/02/2017 by Alan Jarque

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At the ACR Show in Birmingham I delivered a seminar called ‘Stop Whinging about the Skill Shortage’. In this talk I showed the extent of the skills gap in Engineering in the UK. I discussed statistics such as:

1. EngineeringUK – lobby group states that there is a shortfall in UK of 55,000 engineers per year

2. 87,000 degree graduates required – 46,000 produced

3. 69,000 apprentices required per annum – 27,000 apprentices per year currently qualify

4. The need to DOUBLE the output

The last point is especially worrying. The target to double the output is, lets face it, not going to happen in the short or medium term. The focus of the UK is just not in the Engineering sector any longer and the changes to the training and apprenticeship schemes will not have enough of an effect.  In fact, many of the companies and training facilities at the Show expressed concern that the current schemes were going in the wrong direction.

To my mind the industry or the government, or both, need to spend a lot more (I'm talking millions of £) in promoting our industry as a fantastic career to young people - and salaries need to reflect this.

In the second half of my seminar I showed how companies could make the most of what was available to try an alleviate the problem of this shortage. I discussed how the quality of their training, recruitment and retention schemes were directly proportional to the success they would have in sourcing Engineers to run their companies over the coming years and decades.

But I’m not sure people really care ?  Only 3 people were sitting at the beginning of the talk which grew to about 10 by the end.

But seriously ? Only 10 people interested in a topic that is one of the biggest threats to the productivity of the HVAC & Refrigeration industry in the future ?

With Brexit now a definite, we can also hope that immigration restrictions do not limit skilled / trained Engineers from coming to the UK to enhance our work force.