£30 million fund to secure supply of engineers and boost number of women in sector

A £30m funding pot for the engineering sector has been made available by the government to address a skills shortage and encourage more women to explore the industry as a viable career path.

The fund was announced by skills and enterprise minister Matthew Hancock (12 June 2014) during the launch of the ‘Manufacture your Future’ initiative in the West Midlands.

A third of the finance will be directed at developing more female engineers, with £10m towards improving young people’s skills.

A further £10m will be made available this autumn to develop skills at small companies.

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.”

Nicky Morgan, minister for women, added: “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 manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said: “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 call notice will be placed on the publications pages of the government website Gov.UK from 19 June 2014.