Addressing the Skills Shortage in UK Manufacturing and Engineering By Andrew Yates, Managing Director, Endoline Automation

The UK is in the throes of a skills crisis, particularly in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. A staggering 85% of businesses within these industries are grappling with unfilled positions due to a shortage of skilled workers. This challenge isn’t just a minor hiccup but a significant barrier to growth and innovation.

Manufacturing professionals across the country are hopeful that the General Election, and the Government which comes into power, will bring about policies that can mitigate these issues and set the sector on a path to sustainable growth.

The Magnitude of the Skills Shortage

Several factors are contributing to the current skills shortage. The pandemic severely disrupted training programs and resulted in fewer newly qualified staff entering the workforce. Additionally, Brexit exacerbated the issue by disrupting the free flow of skilled workers from EU countries, leading to an even more constrained talent pool.

A report from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) highlights that 71% of the UK engineering workforce facing internal skills gaps attribute these shortages to missing engineering or technical skills. This indicates that not only is there a lack of new talent, but existing workers also need upskilling to keep pace with technological advancements.

The Role of Technological Advancements

Automation, digitalisation, and robotics are reshaping the manufacturing landscape at an accelerated pace. These advancements demand a workforce equipped with new and specialised skills. However, the speed at which technology evolves often outstrips the rate at which the workforce can adapt, further widening the skills gap.

Endoline Automation’s Commitment to the Future

At Endoline Automation, we understand the critical importance of addressing this skills shortage. Our commitment to apprenticeships and upskilling is a testament to our dedication to fostering a skilled workforce. Many of our apprentices, who joined us straight from school, have stayed with us for decades, continually evolving with the company as they acquire new skills and expertise.

We are also proud supporters of Automate Best, an initiative by Automate UK aimed at promoting manufacturing and engineering apprenticeship programs. Through this partnership, we actively lobby the Government for changes that will help address the skills shortage and sustain the UK’s manufacturing sector.

The Path Forward

For the UK manufacturing and engineering sectors to thrive, the Government must take decisive action. Policies that promote skilled migration, incentivise training programs, and support continuous learning are essential. We call on the new Government to prioritise these issues and implement solutions that will bolster our workforce and drive the sector forward.


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