Bloodhound's SuperSonic Car (SSC) arrived at Downing Street today as Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed an apprenticeship initiative from Engineering Institutions.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Gatsby Foundation jointly ventured the initiative to create 100,000 Engineering Technicians by 2018.
Current estimates suggest the UK needs to double its current pipeline of new recruits to engineering, construction and manufacturing professions by 2020 or UK growth could be inhibited.
The venture comes as the Government faces up to a clear skills shortage problem in UK engineering.
Disappointingly the Prime Minister failed to actually make his highly anticipated announcement outside 10 Downing Street though he did praise UK engineering and Bloodhound in an official statement.
Mr Cameron said:
“British engineering and innovation are a part of our history that we are rightly very proud of and our engineering excellence continues to change the world that we live in for the better. Bloodhound is a fantastic example of what our engineers can achieve.
“Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and to build their careers, creating a truly world-class, high-skilled workforce that can compete and thrive in the global race.”
The scheme will look to give apprentices industry experience on top of an EngTech qualification in responsive action to the emerging skills gap within the engineering and construction sectors.
Stephen Tetlow, chief executive, of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, highlighted the concern over a lack of entry level engineers and the importance of Engineering Technicians to the UK.
“The Institution and its partners are concerned that the number of people pursuing engineering careers is just not enough to meet the current and future demands of the engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors.
“To help UK companies succeed in this ever-rowing competitive global marketplace, we need people with the highest professional skills and abilities.”
Mr Tetlow added: “We are pleased that Mr Cameron recognises the importance of Engineering Technicians to the UK’s engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors.”
The Prime Minister met apprentices from a number of leading manufacturing and construction companies, including Rolls-Royce, Caterpillar and Perkins Engines.
A group of Year 10 pupils from Barclay School in Stevenage, who all hope to become engineers and scientists, were also at Downing Street for the event.
The 13m jet-and-rocket propelled SSC will aim to beat the current land speed record of 763mph in 2014, as well as become the first land vehicle to exceed 1,000mph by 2015.
Wing Commander Andy Green, the current world land speed and supersonic speed record holder, will be driving the SSC in attempts to break the current records in South Africa next year.