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Have your say: Here’s how you can help tackle the skills gap

Author : Sophia Bell, Group Editor, DPA

01 February 2023

You’re probably sick of hearing people (including me – sorry!) discuss the ever-present skills gap within the manufacturing industry, but I’ve finally got some good – or at least optimistic – news to share with you: we might just be on the brink of finally finding a solution.

Former Labour and Conservative Ministers Lord Knight and Lord Willetts, with support from EngineeringUK, have launched an inquiry into the reasons behind the ongoing decline in engineering, manufacturing and technology apprenticeships starts within the UK.

With this as a starting point, the inquiry will then identify solutions to encourage larger numbers – and greater diversity – of young people to acquire the vital skills needed to bridge the gap, as the older generation of engineers begins to retire. 

Apprenticeship starts in engineering and manufacturing have admittedly increased post-pandemic. In fact, 2022 saw a 25.8 percent increase compared with the previous year – a greater rate than any other subject area.

However, whilst this data points to a promising upward trend, engineering-related apprenticeship starts are still down by 12.3 percent since 2016/17, which means we’ve still got a long way to go if we are to combat the long-term decline.

Read the full article in DPA's February issue

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