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We must inspire more young people to choose engineering as a career

So says The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE).

A recent report by Engineering UK has highlighted a decline of 12.2% of young people under 19 taking engineering related Advanced Level Apprenticeships – a downward trend which will damage the UK’s current and future capacity for growth if left unaddressed.

“I believe Engineering Institutions need to work together rather than having their own initiatives, pooling resources to engage school students in engineering as a great career opportunity. The current programme is not as strategic as it could be and may not be cost-efficient in its use of very substantial funding,” said Alastair Taylor CEO of IAgrE.

We are awash with reports warning that the UK is lacking in engineers delivering high skills and innovation. It’s time to set key priority objectives that have a chance of delivery and dump initiatives that are less promising. There is not enough focus on the impact of all these initiatives and I think there is duplication and possibly even some competition, he added.”

It is a recognised fact that companies are facing difficulties in recruiting staff with the right skills and experiences and this is going to get worse as many older engineers retire. Through Landbased Technician Accreditation schemes the IAgrE has already started to address this challenge and in many respects is ahead of the game – certainly at technician level. We have more work to do at graduate level.

It is vital that we make engineering attractive and recruit more women into the profession, I think we are missing a strategic opportunity here.

Not only is engineering central to ensuring economic growth, but it also plays a major role in helping to tackle global challenges, such as climate change, health, food security, biodiversity, water security, population and energy security.

Agriculture and agricultural engineering are forward-looking sectors. If we are to meet the challenges of climate change and food security we must act now to address these issues, “concluded Alastair.


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