Dame Judith Hackitt urges collaboration to tackle skills gaps

Posted on 28 May 2024 by The Manufacturer

Dame Judith Hackitt has urged action and collaboration to tackle the UK engineering and manufacturing skills gaps.

The engineering stalwart and Chair of the Enginuity Board has called on engineering and manufacturing employers to pledge their support in addressing 5 key priorities in Enginuity’s new ‘Manifesto for Change’.

A decade in the making, Enginuity’s ‘Manifesto for Change’ is based on in-depth knowledge of the UK engineering and manufacturing sector that currently ranks 8th worldwide*. It calls for a multi-stakeholder collaborative approach between policymakers, employers, and education providers.

With a general election date now confirmed, now is the time to ensure policymakers and political leaders understand the potential economic impact of the sector’s skills gaps challenges; and back the funding and systems adaptations in the next Parliament and beyond.

Make UK, SDE Technology, Automate UK and the Design and Technology Association are among those that have already pledged their support.

Organisations and individuals can read the full manifesto and pledge their support here: enginuity.org/the-enginuity-skills-action-plan-a-manifesto-for-change

The leading ‘sector connector’ charity, Enginuity pinpoints five priority actions that will secure the future of UK engineering and manufacturing and build a world-class sector:

  1. Make qualifications and learning more flexible with a focus on key transferable skills,
  2. Incentivise recruitment in priority industries with skills shortages,
  3. Ensure that funding for technical and vocational education, standards, and qualifications is commensurate with the critical need to upskill and reskill the engineering and manufacturing workforce,
  4. Establish a skills observatory using data and AI to analyse cross-sector and sector-specific needs,
  5. Refine the Apprenticeship Levy in England and make funding systems more transparent for engineering and manufacturing employers across the UK.

Dame Judith Hackitt OBE, Chair of the Enginuity Group, said: “None of us can know exactly what the future’s engineering and manufacturing jobs will look like, but we know they will be different from today’s. Now is the time to act. If we do nothing, the sector will survive, but it will fail to thrive, and we will fail in our endeavour to be a leading global player in engineering and manufacturing.”

Ann Watson, Chief Executive of Enginuity, said: “The engineering and manufacturing sector is staring in the face of challenges and opportunities. In order to meet them head-on, we need employers, training centres, educational institutions, and policymakers to work together. If we act now, we can prepare the existing workforce and attract a whole new generation of engineering talent.”

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