Half industry jobs to require higher level skills by 2016

Posted on 2 Sep 2011 by The Manufacturer

New Semta statistics show the requirement for highly skilled workers in manufacturing is increasing and the sector skills council has urged employers to establish apprenticeship programmes to fulfil this need.

Research from Semta, the sector skills council for science, engineering and manufacturing, predicts a need for 96,300 engineers, scientists and technologists a year between now and 2016.

These vacancies are expected to appear as a result of business growth, despite the poor PMI figures in August.

Even allowing for the recent abolition of the default retirement age a requirement for new staff will also inevitably emerge as current employees retire. Twenty-nine per cent of employees within Semta’s sectors are over 45.

A Semta statement has asserted that the data should spur employees forward in establishing apprenticeship programmes – both to upskill existing employees and protect future prospects.

Semta launched its Apprenticeship Ambition initiative in May this year to help employers in its sectors progress with their apprenticeship plans. The initiative has set a target to increase the number the number of advanced and higher level apprenticeship registrations from 8,000 to 16,000 by 2016.

Apprenticeship Ambition is supported by a 10 point plan to overcome the barriers to starting apprenticeships – particularly for SME companies.

Indentified difficulties include the burden of administration and apprentice retention concerns.
Semta’s new Apprenticeship Service is now backing up the sector skills council’s ‘ambition’ by:

•recruiting and selecting suitable apprentices
•designing apprenticeship programmes to meet individual company needs
•sourcing high-quality training providers for apprentices
•managing and monitoring the quality programmes
•accessing public funding

Commenting on the new urgency for apprenticeship programmes Philip Whiteman, chief executive of Semta, said: “Much of the demand for higher level technical skills can be met through apprenticeships. Semta’s innovative approach to apprenticeships will be critical in developing higher skilled employees needed each year between now and 2016. We urge companies to get in touch with us and find out how we can overcome their barriers to hiring apprentices.”

Only 7% of employers in science, engineering and manufacturing currently offer apprenticeships. Yet employers put apprenticeships at the top of their priorities in each region and in every sector Semta represents.

Semta has produced a breakdown of its skills requirement data by UK region.

To find out more about apprenticeships or take a Business 2 Skills assessment, visit www.semta.org.uk or contact Semta Customer Services on 0845 643 9001.