The start of a new year means a new release of Engineering UK 2015: The State of Engineering, this important report describes how the construction industry is growing. 2014 was a good year for the engineering sector and the 25th July marked the day that the UK’s economic growth finally recovered to pre-recession levels. In Q1 2014 it was 0.2% higher than the rate at its peak in Q1 2008. 

Another highlight of last year was shown by the industry contributing an estimated £455.6 billion (27.1%) of the UK’s total £1683 billion GDP. At the moment, things are moving in the right direction, especially within engineering. However at the rate the industry is moving, it is unable to keep up with demands if it continues to grow at this rate. It has been estimated that by 2022 there will be 257,000 new vacancies [i] and this will generate an extra £2.7 billion a year [i] This is a huge amount and secures British engineering as one of the effective ways to build up the economy.  Vince Cable says “A strong British engineering sector is vital to the long term sustainability of our economic recovery” [ii].

In the Global Talent Shortage Survey 2014 by The Manpower Group it stated that globally the main shortages are skilled trades. Engineering was the second highest for the third year in a row. This highlights that it’s not just a problem in the UK. Three in ten vacancies are reported to be hard to fill [iii] the reason for this is there are shortages in “suitably skilled, qualified and/or experienced workers.”[iii] Since the Employer Skills Survey in 2011 the amount of vacancies has risen by 12%. Nearly half of engineering businesses have reported that not being able to fill vacancies has meant that they have had delays developing new products or services.

The UK may have a surge of vacancies to offer in the future but the issue is there aren’t enough suitable candidates to fill them. As a Nation the UK needs more students wanting to study courses in which they gain STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills. These skills are important in supporting the UKs need for growth. According to a review by Ofsted in 2013, “three quarters of schools are not executing their statutory careers duties satisfactorily” [ii]. Many students would like more information about their options, students would like more work experience to help them decide what they want to do. They need this earlier than the age they get it at present. Students need to know what pre-requisites they need to have to achieve their goals. At the moment students are helped at GCSE age (16+) and by that point they have chosen their options.

Overall the UK ended 2014 on a high, the industry has grown and is forecast to continue to grow. The only problem with this is, at the moment we cannot sustain the growth that is needed without extra people to fill the rising vacancies. More of a push will have to come to entice the younger generation to the huge opportunities there are within the construction industry. It seems that now is a good time to encourage our young people into a career in engineering.

[i] report Engineering UK 2015 The state of engineering Page 2
[ii] report Engineering UK 2015 The state of engineering (Foreword)
[iii] report engineering UK 2015 the state of engineering page 1
Report engineering UK 2015 the state of engineering page IV
Report Industrial Strategy: government and industry in partnership- Construction 2025 - July 2013.

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