By Lea Pachta

The Engineering and Technology Board (ETB) and The Royal Academy of Engineering have welcomed the Government’s new skills strategy and its emphasis on engineering as a priority area as a clear recognition of the vital role that engineering will play in the economic recovery and in addressing future global challenges such as climate change, infrastructure renewal and clean water.

The ETB and the Academy have been asked by the Government to produce recommendations to increase the status and recognition of engineering technicians, and are looking forward to meeting this challenge

This week’s Skills Strategy called for the creation of 35,000 new Advanced Apprenticeships and indicated that engineering will be a priority funding area in future. It also highlighted the role that engineering technicians and apprenticeships need to play in ensuring that the UK has the skills it needs to compete internationally. The ETB and the Academy look forward to working with the policymakers, business and industry to make this happen.

The engineering community has been working together in recent months to emphasise the important role in progression between different skills levels and has set up an expert group known as Education for Engineering to offer coordinated and clear advice on education to UK Government and the devolved Assemblies and deal with all aspects of learning that underpin engineering. The group is now set to start work on this significant national policy endeavour.

Paul Jackson, Chief Executive of the ETB said:

“This is a very encouraging signal of the Government’s continuing recognition of the importance of engineering apprentices and technicians to the future of the UK economy. Now more than ever we need to do everything we can to encourage people into such careers. We are delighted to have the opportunity to advise the Government on this vital area of policy and look forward to working together to ensure that these admirable suggestions become a concrete reality. In particular we need to ensure that our manufacturers are well supplied with the right kind of skills to compete and turn innovations into reality.”

Phillip Greenish, Chief Executive of The Royal Academy of Engineering said:

“The Academy welcomes the Government’s recognition of engineering as an essential pillar of the UK economy and essential to support a strong and sustained recovery. We applaud the national skills strategy’s priority to strengthen the technician and apprentice workforce, which is of vital importance to engineering industry. Up-skilling and re-skilling of the workforce is essential for the UK to meet future challenges and become a world-leading knowledge based economy. The Academy will work with Education for Engineering (E4E), the body representing the Professional Engineering Institutions on skills, to provide expert guidance on how levels of participation in the schemes for technician level engineers can be increased.”

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