Under the skin of skills

Posted on 1 Feb 2011 by The Manufacturer

Skills gaps in science, engineering and manufacturing industries will be laid bare by new set of Semta factsheets.

The new fact sheets from the Sector Skills Council, Semta, break down skills needs in a variety of strategically important sectors including; automotive, aerospace, marine, electronics, metals and more.
The first factsheet was released yesterday and covers automotive requirements. Semta research reveals that the UK’s 166,000 automotive employees produce an average of £59,600 Gross Value Added (GVA), compared to a national average of just £35,500. However, despite the evidence that automotive businesses are vital players in the future of the UK economy skills to support industry growth are faltering.

Semta has identified that growth will require considerable recruitment in key strategic areas. A breakdown of requirements specifies that between now and 2016 there will be a need for 4,000 managers, 5,500 engineers and scientists (including technicians, craft and operators), and 17,500 employees across other occupations. This influx will be needed to achieve employment growth and compensate for likely retirements. The specific job types relate to identified deficits in; technical skills, leadership and management capabilities, and strategic workforce planning.

In a sneak preview of the other factsheets due to be released over the next couple of weeks The Manufacturer can reveal that other unsettling skills facts staring UK industry in the face include the assertion from Semta that 29% of aerospace companies have acknowledged skills gaps compared to 19% across all UK sectors. In addition the number of vacancies classified as hard to fill in aerospace is around double the national average across all sectors.

While some of the challenges identified by the factsheets are disturbing, Semta offers hope through its pioneering work with leading companies in each of the sectors it has investigated. In the marine industry for example Semta has been working closely with Babcock International Groups Marine Division to ensure skills requirements are met within its own 308-strong business division and that learnings can be disseminated throughout the supply chain. This will ensure the optimisation of key projects for both sector and national productivity.
The next Semta fact sheet will be released on February 3 and will reveal further detail on skills shortages across the 99,800 employees currently working in the electrical sector.

Philip Whiteman, CEO of Semta, tells employees across the Sector Skills Council’s remit that: “We want to help employers understand the difference between training spend and investment, supporting them to improve bottom-line profitability.”
More information on Semta new factsheets and other research projects can be found at www.semta.org.uk.