Can Britain’s teens solve the engineering skills crisis?

Nearly 1 million British teens could solve engineering skills crisis, but they don’t know where to start…

- 50% of teens aged 16-18 would consider a career in engineering.
- However, 63% don’t know which qualifications are needed.
- Engineering vacancies increased by 23% in the last 5 years.

With an annual shortfall of at least 20,000 skilled workers, generating interest in engineering has been firmly on the agenda for some time now. A new Jobsite report shows this could finally be making a difference, as findings reveal as many as 50% of 16-18 year olds would consider a career in the this field.

The industry, worth an estimated £456bn to the UK economy, has struggled to attract talent. Soon this could be a problem of the past; perceptions are changing, as Jobsite research finds teens believe engineering is a cool (84%), creative (86%) career choice.

Reasons stated for being attracted to an engineering career include the ability to solve challenging problems (57%), opportunity to build things (55%), career progression (42%) and salary (39%). This view is shared by current engineers who cite rewarding work, job security and varied workload as the best parts of the job.

But, it’s not all good news. Despite 87% being aware of engineering as a career by age 18, a whopping 63% of teens surveyed were not aware of the qualifications needed to pursue it. Work experience provides some students a way to explore chosen career options, however 70% have not been presented with any opportunities for work experience in the sector.

Jobsite CEO Nick Gold said- “Over the last decade, careers in tech have become aspirational. Now it’s time for engineering to revitalise its image and do the same. Through role models and high profile projects, Britain’s teens are finally seeing that STEM careers are a way to satisfy a range of needs and make a real difference in society.

Our report highlights the need for educators and employers to demonstrate a clear path into these careers for young people today. Engineers we spoke to cite a range of routes into the industry, not just through degrees but also apprenticeships and on the job training. This proves engineering to be a very accessible career choice, regardless of academic strengths and background. Demystifying this is the key to attracting and nurturing the talent needed to fill the shortfall. ”

Download the full ‘Engineering Talent of Tomorrow’ report here.

Note:

Numbers based on Jobsite independent research of 1,000 16-18 year olds and 1,200 engineers. Vacancy numbers from Jobsite site data. References to engineering industry and population numbers come from EngineeringUK and Department of Education.