EngineeringUK launches election manifesto

STEM education, skills and workforce planning should be a priority for the UK's next government to support the engineering and technology job surge, according to EngineeringUK.

In its manifesto launched this week ahead of next month's General Election, the society said the new government must urgently address skills shortages and the UK’s changing labour market needs. 

A study last year found that engineering jobs are expected to grow faster than other occupations across the UK between now and 2030, but there is a lack of people and skills to deliver infrastructure improvements, decarbonisation and growth.

EngineeringUK wants the next government to take a more strategic approach on these issues, and for this to be made a high priority led by the Cabinet Office. The not-for-profit believes consolidating the work of existing skills taskforces under a new cross-departmental skills committee will encourage collaboration, reduce siloed thinking and support the next government’s ambitions to grow the economy.

EngineeringUK also wants the new government to develop a holistic STEM education and skills plan, which, if acted on, will help deliver the engineering and technology workforce that the UK so urgently needs and address issues and concerns in the education sector.

EngineeringUK’s policy priorities for the next government

Strategic workforce planning

  • Establish a national engineering and technology workforce strategy
  • Ensure a strategic approach to workforce planning based on workforce needs
  • Enhance diversity in the STEM workforce
  • Support international talent via appropriate immigration and visa systems
  • Link STEM education and skills planning to the strategic workforce plan

STEM education and skills plan

  • Deliver on careers provision
  • Grow and sustain engineering apprenticeships for young people
  • Commit to T Levels
  • Improve STEM teacher recruitment, training and retention

Beatrice Barleon, Head of Public Affairs and Policy at EngineeringUK, said the organisation specifically wants the new government in its first 100 days in office to commit to a national workforce strategy.

"On apprenticeships and T levels, we want to see better access for young people and a commitment that T Levels will continue in England," she added. "We also need a long-term careers strategy to ensure schools and colleges have the funding and up-to-date knowledge of 21st engineering careers required to support and inspire young people."

EngineeringUK is also calling on the next government to tackle the STEM teacher shortages head on and invest more in CPD for STEM teachers. Evidence shows this training has a positive impact on teacher retention. 

Read the policy asks in full here.

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