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Cameron announces plan to create 100,000 engineering technicians

24 June, 2013

The British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a scheme which aims to produce an extra 100,000 engineering technicians in the UK by 2018.

The multi-million pound initiative is a national drive to encourage young people to sign up to engineering apprenticeships. The aim is to create a new generation of engineering technicians, giving them structured on-the-job training built on a recognised academic qualification.

On successful completion, each apprentice will have the skills and competencies to attain the Engineering Technician (EngTech) designation.

Working through new and established apprentice schemes, the initiative has been created by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), and is backed by £10m from the Gatsby Foundation.

The Prime Minister made the announcement as the Bloodhound supersonic car visited Downing Street, along with several engineering apprentices and school children.

“British engineering and innovation are a part of our history that we are rightly very proud of and our engineering excellence continues to change the world that we live in for the better,” he said. “Apprenticeships are at the heart of our mission to rebuild the economy, giving young people the chance to learn a trade and to build their careers, creating a truly world-class, high-skilled workforce that can compete and thrive in the global race.

David Cameron in Downing Street with the Bloodhound supersonic car and its driver, Andy Green

Current estimates suggest that the UK needs to double the number of new recruits coming into engineering, construction and manufacturing professions by 2020 to avoid a severe skills shortage that would stunt the growth of these sectors.

IMechE chief executive Stephen Tetlow says that the Institution and its partners are concerned that there are not enough people pursuing engineering careers to meet the current and future demands of the engineering, manufacturing and construction sectors.

“To help UK companies succeed in this ever-growing competitive global marketplace, we need people with the highest professional skills and abilities,” he says. “This initiative will ensure that the UK has a growing stream of Engineering Technicians being developed to a level that is recognised and respected around the world.”

The government is investing up to £1.5bn in apprenticeships this year. Since 2010, more than 500,000 new apprenticeships have been created.

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