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Julia Evans: "Government can help industry to communicate better to make engineering more interesting"

Mind the gap

BSRIA releases whitepaper on the 'skills gap' and says schools need to incentivise technical routes

Posted by Stephanie Broad | August 24, 2015 | People, policy, politics, money

A new whitepaper from BSRIA, ‘Bridging the skills gap’ asks: ‘What does our industry need from government to recruit new entrants, upskill the existing workforce and change the diversity of the workforce?’

The paper looks at how to incentivise; communicate; build skills; start young and promote diversity. It is widely recognised that the construction industry has resourcing and skills issues. According to BSRIA, the root causes are: 

  • Too many in government do not have an engineering background and so are disconnected from industry
  • Schools do not start early on to inform students about engineering
  • There is poor linkage between schools and further education through technical colleges and apprenticeships
  • There is poor communication by our industry about what engineering is and the value it adds to our economy 

Julia Evans, Chief Executive of BSRIA, said: “Schools need to be incentivised on the number of students they get into apprenticeships and technical colleges, and not just the number that they get into university. We also need to change the image of our industry. Government can help industry to communicate better to make engineering more interesting. We need to move the focus away from one of being a ‘construction industry’ to one focussed on ‘the built environment’. This will help to make it more attractive to young people who, for example, have grown up with software gaming and modelling.”

On the diversity issue, Julia said: “We have had to go through many generations to get more female engineers on board and the status quo does not look set to change any time soon without some external impetus. Government needs to help industry to find ways to be more inclusive in all demographic aspects, to attract more diversity into our industry and to raise the status of engineers – if necessary, through some form of incentivisation. 

“Government can help ensure that apprenticeships are not just an excuse for cheap labour, but are well-structured and prepare individuals for a meaningful and rewarding career.” 

www.bsria.co.uk    

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