Government must do more to address skills shortages in...

Government must do more to address skills shortages in manufacturing

04 November 2013

Unite, Britain's biggest union, is urging the government to turn its words into action and do more to get young people, particularly girls, interested in engineering.

A survey by Engineering UK to mark the start of Tomorrow's Engineers Week shows that only half of 11-14 year olds would consider a career in engineering and less than one in ten (7 per cent) plan to be engineers once they finish their education.    

The survey also showed that girls in particular are not attracted to engineering as a career option with 65 per cent reporting they wouldn’t consider a career in engineering. 

Commenting on the survey findings, Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: "The government is making the right noises but there is not enough action. There is a real lack of careers advice in schools and colleges to inspire and get young people, particularly young women, excited about manufacturing.  Young people, teachers and parents have the wrong image of  manufacturing - it's not oily and smelly it is hi-tech and creative. 

"The UK  needs  a new skills system similar to Germany’s, where young people start looking at a skilled apprenticeship in their early teens and undertake education about skills and the world of work before they leave school.  Skill shortages will get even worse in the future unless we change course."

Next week Unite will launch its new strategy for manufacturing ‘Made In Britain’ - skills and apprenticeships are a key part of the strategy. Next year the union will be promoting events to attract more young women and men into apprenticeships in manufacturing industries. 


Contact Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315

Notes to editors:

Unite is Britain and Ireland's largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.