The UK economy is propped up by the skills of graduate engineers, according to the Royal Academy of Engineering, which has observed that many of these university leavers possess the skills to pursue roles in other sectors, too. In a new report, entitled Jobs and growth: the importance of engineering skills to the UK economy, the academy said that demand for engineers is not being matched by supply.
Assuming the troubled UK economy is to get back into sustainably positive territory by 2020, as many as 1.25 million science, engineering and technology professionals and technicians are needed. Indeed, the report concluded that the absolute minimum number of Stem graduates needed just to maintain the status quo is 100,000 a year, in addition to 60,000 individuals with Level 3+ Stem qualifications for the period 2012-2020.
At the minute, however, just 90,000 Stem students graduate on an annual basis, which means that a massive shortfall is developing fast. "We need an increase in the number ofStem graduates over the next 10 years in support of rebalancing the UK economy," commented Sir John Parker, President of the Academy.
"I am delighted to see that the government is taking on board the message that a proper industrial strategy is essential for effective and sustained economic recovery. Only with such a framework and vision in place can we create 'the pull' that defines our future educational and skills needs. We must encourage employers to work with universities with the aim of producing more engineers."
Professor Matthew Harrison, the Director of Engineering and Education at the Academy, added that Stem qualifications arm young people with the sort of transferrable skills that allow them to move into other areas of the labour market. In fact, Professor Harrison suggested that all young people should be in possession of these aptitudes as a means of social mobility and to strengthen the economy. This alone, Professor Harrison explained, should justify the government intervening in the matter and ensuring more young people pursue Stem subjects.