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UK Contractors: £30m government fund to increase supply of engineers

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Engineer contractors might be interested to learn of new government funding that will look to increase the supply of engineers, encourage more women into the sector, and focus on engineering skills shortages within small firms.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock has announced a £30 million fund to address the engineering sector, with £10 million of the fund being directed to ‘Developing Women Engineers’ and £10 million to a call to ‘Improving Engineering Careers’. A further £10 million will be made available in the autumn to develop engineering skills in smaller companies.

The fund will enable engineering companies to establish training programmes to develop future engineers and boost the number of women in the profession. 

Speaking at the launch of the Manufacture your Future initiative in the West Midlands, Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said, “Skills are central to the UK economy and our long-term competitiveness. In order to allow UK engineering to grow and compete on the world stage we need a guaranteed supply of highly skilled and talented engineers.

“By supporting employers to develop the workforce of the future and bring more women into the engineering, we’re empowering the industry to unlock its potential.” 

The announcement forms part of the government’s Employer Ownership Fund that enables employers to design training projects that can address skills shortages holding back their business, providing 50% match funding to employers.

Minister for Women Nicky Morgan said, “I am pleased to announce that the government is providing £10 million to help women progress as engineers. We need to move away from the perception that engineering is a ‘man’s world’. Without women pursuing careers in engineering, UK companies are missing out on a vast pool of talent.” 

Terry Scuoler chief executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, added, “The lack of engineering skills in the UK has become a ticking time-bomb, and manufacturers are investing heavily in their current and future workforces to prevent it from exploding. This must include investing in all sections of our workforce, in particular women where the UK has an especially poor record.

“What has been needed is extra support to push companies to adopt more innovative solutions to truly tackle the skills shortage and gender imbalance that exists in our industry.

“The fund announced today will do just that and we will be encouraging manufacturers to get involved and take this opportunity to tackle the skills challenge head-on.”

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