News Archive


Industry, educators and government work to tackle skills shortage

Industry, educators and the government have been working together to confront the skills shortage currently facing the nuclear industry, with the STEM Alliance and the 2014 Universe of Engineering report both launched last week.

The shortage of people with skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) qualifications is being approached from a new angle through an initiative to ensure there are enough educators to teach the subjects.

 On 21st October, industry, education and government came together to launch the STEM Alliance which aims to attract more young people into further education and retain the teachers needed to train the estimated one million engineers, scientists and technicians needed in the UK by 2020.

Allan Cook, chairman of Semta, the engineering and advanced manufacturing skills council, said: “We have a requirement of 160,000 STEM graduates a year but we are only producing about 90,000." According to Semta, currently almost a third of STEM teacher trainees do not stay within the subject.

On 23rd October, the NI also attended the launch of the 2014 ‘Universe of Engineering’ report by Engineering the Future, which follows on from the first report launched 15 years ago.

The report, led by a steering group of senior engineers from across the sector, chaired by Dame Sue Ion, aims to tackle the skills shortage by drawing attention to the size and scope of the world of engineering, and supporting the profession in meeting these needs.

The document points to the ‘secret engineers’ – over 1.6m people with engineering qualifications using their knowledge and skills in the wider economy who did not declare themselves as engineers in the latest official population survey, increasing the size of the UK’s workforce by another 6%.

There are several calls to action for the government, industry and professional engineering institutions (PEI’s) such as the Nuclear Institute to make the central role of engineering in society more apparent to the public, so that students, their teachers and parents recognise the potential of a career in this sector.  It recognises the importance of promoting and maintaining professionalism in the sector, which is at the core of the NI’s mission.