The industry insiders are calling it a “skills timebomb” – during the economic crisis, jobs dried up. And now, even though the economy is better, more older aged people are hitting retirement faster than the number of youths training for the sector can fill needed positions.
According to reports, the number of non-EU recruited engineers in the UK has increased by 36% from last year. With the economy heading back towards full speed, hiring for engineers is also again picking up, but due to the local skills shortage companies have needed to find qualified workers elsewhere.
A lot of leaders in the industry agree that part of the problem (and the solution) is that schools’ attitudes towards the trades need to change. They need to understand the variety of routes into work, noting that it is better for apprenticeships to start earlier on, at around 15, rather than several years after school. Information about skilled jobs, such as those in engineering and construction, need to be addressed more in schools to make them more aware towards students who might be interested but not have any advice available to them.
Perhaps, with a push, vocational training will receive as much attention as university degrees and help to create more jobs for youth – and at the same time help cut youth unemployment.