“The UK education system cannot produce enough engineers to support the economy”

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Apprenticeship Levy limitations and technical teacher shortages threaten economic growth, according to a report led by the Royal Academy of Engineering, which is currently funding our Curiosity Connections – Women Like Me project.

Engineering Skills for the Future – the 2013 Perkins review revisited was published on 30th January 2019 and produced by Education for Engineering. It reports numerous barriers to addressing the annual shortfall of 59,000 engineers and technicians in the UK workforce; including narrow post-16 education options, teacher shortages and an overly restrictive Apprenticeship Levy.

The 2013 Review of Engineering Skills was led by Professor John Perkins CBE FREng and commissioned by government. It was a landmark report reviewing engineering education. This newly published independent report revisits the challenges highlighted in the original Perkins Review, and makes a series of recommendations for addressing them:

  • Government should review the issues affecting recruitment and retention of teachers and go beyond plans announced this week by introducing a requirement for 40 hours of subject-specific continuing professional development for all teachers of STEM subjects, not just new recruits, every year.
  • An urgent review of post-16 academic education pathways for England is needed. Young people should have the opportunity to study mathematics, science and technology subjects along with arts and humanities up to the age of 18, to attract a broader range of young people into engineering.
  • Government must ensure engineering courses are adequately funded with increased top-up grants for engineering departments if tuition fees are to be reduced.
  • Government should give employers greater control and flexibility in how they spend the Apprenticeship Levy, including to support other high-quality training provision in the workplace, such as improving the digital skills of the workforce.
  • Professional engineering organisations and employers should address the need to up-skill engineers and technicians to prepare for the introduction of disruptive digital technologies into industry.
  • Employers should take an evidence-based and data driven approach to improve recruitment and increase retention and progression of underrepresented groups within organisations, including by introducing recruitment targets for underrepresented groups.

For more information and to view the report, please see the Royal Academy of Engineering’s news release.

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