Workers shortfall in manufacturing

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Britain’s manufacturers are facing a recruitment ‘crunch’ with the quality and number of graduates failing to match up to industry needs, according to a new report.

EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, says that by 2020 manufacturers will need almost a million replacement workers - at a time when skills from within the UK are already in short supply.

In the next three years alone, 66 per cent of manufacturers plan to recruit an engineering graduate. Over a quarter of firms (27 per cent) will also be on the hunt for those with business and administration degrees, while 20 per cent will be taking on people with a technology degree.

However, their plans could be holed by the limited number of STEM students and the number of graduates lacking industry experience and manufacturing knowledge.

As a result, eight in ten manufacturers (80 per cent) want to see higher education establishments prioritise improving the employability of students.

Some 79 per cent want courses to be designed to meet industry needs and almost three quarters (74 per cent) want to see universities build stronger relationships with employers to give students work experience and the skills and knowledge employers say are currently lacking.

Andy Tuscher, Yorkshire and Humber Region Director at EEF, says: “With UK manufacturing continuing to expand and grow, access to the right skills in the right numbers is ever more important.

“Businesses are engaging with universities, sponsoring students and hiring graduates, but we need action now if we are to meet expected demand.

“Decisive steps must be taken if we do not want to see the manufacturing sector increasingly looking outside the UK for talent for fear of otherwise running out of steam.”