Key UK engineering businesses launch The 5% Club aimed at ensuring recruitment of new talent

Recently, the  Financial Times contained an interesting letter from a new organisation called The 5% Club, a collection of leading minds and figures in the UK engineering industry. They aim to ensure that five per cent of employees at UK companies will be in apprentice, sponsored student or graduate programmes within the next five years, and to have this progress as a key long-term sustainability target.

We fully support the initiatives of this group; they are vital for ensuring the long-term success of Britain’s engineering industry in an increasingly competitive global market. Recent research by the Social Market Foundation think tank has shown that an ageing and retiring UK engineering workforce could soon lead to severe skills shortages, so attracting young people into the industry is entirely necessary if we are to ensure the continued success of engineering in Britain.

However, employers also need to play their part; offering the training and incentives needed to entice young talent to this vibrant and exciting workplace. Last year, our Confidence Index research showed that over half of UK engineers had lost confidence in government policy on engineering, with over two thirds not feeling confident that the UK will be a world leader in engineering in the future. The Confidence Index 2013 is set to launch next month and it will be interesting to see if this general mood has improved, or if the efforts of The 5% Club are prescient in their urgency.

As a key player in recruitment for the engineering industry, we are fully aware of the challenges faced by businesses in attracting new talent in a range of different areas. With the IMF also recently raising its forecast for UK growth, planning to continue such a bright future cannot begin soon enough. The Government needs to ensure it continues to support an industry that has been such a crucial part of Britain’s past, and hopefully its future as well.

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