Bridging the Manufacturing and Engineering Skills Gap

One of the most talked about realities of modern manufacturing and engineering is the skills gap, with severe skills shortages across the industry being at an all-time high. As time goes by, many skilled labourers are reaching retirement age and less employees are joining the field, which is lowering the number of overall skilled workers. This is raising concerns about the long-term sustainability of the industry.

There are a number of issues which are causing this decline, from the perception that all manufacturing and engineering jobs involve wearing boiler suits and carrying oily rags, to the ideology that the majority of the workforce are slowly being replaced by an army of robots. This is also coupled with the image that the industry is low paying, with the majority of the work being repetitive and lacking in creativity.

Solving the talent drought is not just about attracting new entrants, but investing and buildings skills pools in areas such as AI and robotics, whilst holding onto the traditional areas of expertise which have served the industry well throughout the years. This can be
achieved by creating an attractive place to work, offering new opportunities through innovation and technological advancements, and offering the training packages to students in these developments.

It has often been thought that universities would fill the skills gap, but with annual fees up to £9,250, this is not the greatest incentive, with declining numbers of students taking relevant degrees in the industry. With the government announcing the Apprenticeship Levy in the Summer Budget 2015, and taking effect from 6 April 2017, it is an ideal tool to help manufacturers and engineers to start bridging the skills gap.

The Apprenticeship Levy is a a Levy on all UK employers with an annual pay bill in excess of £3 million. Each employer receives an allowance of up to £15,000 each year to offset against their levy payment, and in certain cases, employers who are committed to training will be able to get more back than they put in. Currently, the Apprenticeship Levy can help fund training in several sectors, from aerospace to civil engineering, at levels from GCSE to Masters Degree.

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss your business or the Apprenticeship Levy with us in more detail, please contact Hannah Farmborough or call on 0207 429 4147 to be put in contact with a member of our Manufacturing team.

This article originally appeared on the blog of our member firm, MHA Moore & Smalley.