UK manufacturing skills reaching crisis point

A recent WorldSkills UK report issues a wake-up call highlighting that British manufacturing is facing a major crisis, as productivity, recruitment, and training lag behind our international competitors.

With a huge number of skilled jobs officially deemed ‘hard to fill’, 51 per cent of employers are not working with training providers to help young people gain industry relevant skills and 41 per cent of manufacturers admit doing absolutely nothing to attract young people into the sector. An astonishing 83 per cent of young people report facing ‘barriers’ to enter manufacturing with 48 per cent saying that they have never received any information about why or how to do so.

At the same time 60 per cent of young people (16-24) said they would not consider a career in manufacturing. These startling figures are revealed in a report commissioned by WorldSkills UK, in partnership with BAE Systems, undertaken by Learning & Work Institute, published in May. Commenting on the findings, Ben Blackledge, the interim CEO of WorldSkills UK, said: “The situation is hugely concerning – we are now at crisis point. “A very worrying pattern has emerged with two thirds of manufacturers reporting that lack of access to skills is proving an obstacle to business and 60 per cent of young people saying that they wouldn’t consider a job in the sector.

“British manufacturing is finding it tough enough to fill thousands of skilled vacancies – yet almost half say they aren’t doing anything to attract young people into the sector. “At a time when 42 per cent of vacancies are officially recognised as ‘hard to fill’, and access to skilled workers from other countries is disrupted, British manufacturers cannot afford to sit back and wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting.

“Through our partnerships with employers, we know there are some great examples of employers engaging with skills providers and the positive effect that this is having on young people when they make their career choices. However, we urgently need a more collaborative approach, with industry and education working more closely together, to show young people how rewarding pursuing a career in manufacturing can be.”

Ben Blackledge, the interim CEO of WorldSkills UK who commissioned the report

A recent WorldSkills UK report issues a wake-up call highlighting that British manufacturing is facing a major crisis, as productivity, recruitment, and training lag behind our international competitors.

With a huge number of skilled jobs officially deemed ‘hard to fill’, 51 per cent of employers are not working with training providers to help young people gain industry relevant skills and 41 per cent of manufacturers admit doing absolutely nothing to attract young people into the sector. An astonishing 83 per cent of young people report facing ‘barriers’ to enter manufacturing with 48 per cent saying that they have never received any information about why or how to do so.

At the same time 60 per cent of young people (16-24) said they would not consider a career in manufacturing. These startling figures are revealed in a report commissioned by WorldSkills UK, in partnership with BAE Systems, undertaken by Learning & Work Institute, published in May. Commenting on the findings, Ben Blackledge, the interim CEO of WorldSkills UK, said: “The situation is hugely concerning – we are now at crisis point. “A very worrying pattern has emerged with two thirds of manufacturers reporting that lack of access to skills is proving an obstacle to business and 60 per cent of young people saying that they wouldn’t consider a job in the sector.

“British manufacturing is finding it tough enough to fill thousands of skilled vacancies – yet almost half say they aren’t doing anything to attract young people into the sector. “At a time when 42 per cent of vacancies are officially recognised as ‘hard to fill’, and access to skilled workers from other countries is disrupted, British manufacturers cannot afford to sit back and wait for someone else to do the heavy lifting.

“Through our partnerships with employers, we know there are some great examples of employers engaging with skills providers and the positive effect that this is having on young people when they make their career choices. However, we urgently need a more collaborative approach, with industry and education working more closely together, to show young people how rewarding pursuing a career in manufacturing can be.”

Ben Blackledge, the interim CEO of WorldSkills UK who commissioned the report

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