British teens could fill the skills gap, but don’t know where to start

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:

With an annual shortfall of at least 20,000 skilled workers, generating interest in engineering has been firmly on the agenda for some time now. A new report by recruitment website Jobsite shows this could finally be making a difference, as findings reveal as many as 50% of 16 to 18 year olds would consider a career in the this field.

Reasons stated for being attracted to an engineering career include the ability to solve challenging problems (57%), opportunity to build things (55%), career progression (42%) and salary (39%). This view is shared by current engineers who cite rewarding work, job security and varied workload as the best parts of the job.

However, despite 87% being aware of engineering as a career by age 18, a whopping 63% of teens surveyed were not aware of the qualifications needed to pursue it. Work experience provides some students a way to explore chosen career options, however 70% have not been presented with any opportunities for work experience in the sector.

“Over the last decade, careers in tech have become aspirational. Now it’s time for engineering to revitalise its image and do the same,” said Jobsite CEO Nick Gold. “Through role models and high profile projects, Britain’s teens are finally seeing that STEM careers are a way to satisfy a range of needs and make a real difference in society.”

The report highlights the need for educators and employers to demonstrate a clear path into these careers for young people today. Engineers surveyed cited a range of routes into the industry, not just through degrees but also apprenticeships and on the job training.

Gold concluded: “This proves engineering to be a very accessible career choice, regardless of academic strengths and background. Demystifying this is the key to attracting and nurturing the talent needed to fill the shortfall.”

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