Swindon chartered accountancy firm Monahans is urging local manufacturers to have their say on the effect of the engineering skills gap as part of a major industry survey, supported by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, which has been launched by MHA, the association of accountancy and business advisory firms.
The 2015 MHA Manufacturing & Engineering Survey, which has been launched in the south west by Monahans, will look at the barriers to growth – and the long term implications of failing to invest in engineering talent at every level.
Iain Black, manufacturing specialist and partner at Monahans in Swindon, explains: “Manufacturing has been identified by Central Government as a key sector to promote UK growth and to keep the UK competitive in global markets. It is against this backdrop as part of our membership of MHA that we have launched the MHA Manufacturing Survey here in the south west in conjunction with Lloyds Bank.
“It is a real opportunity for manufacturers in the south west to take a step back and assess their business needs and feed those into one of the largest surveys of this sector. I strongly believe that together we can make a real difference to the support and attention the sector receives from the highest levels of government and taking part in this survey is one of the ways that manufacturers can make that difference.”
“Engineering UK estimates that as a country we need either to double the number of engineering graduates we produce or take other measures, including supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students and apprenticeships, in order to compete on the global stage,” says Chris Coopey, Head of MHA’s Manufacturing Group.
“The reality is that many engineering and manufacturing businesses are finding recruitment difficult if not impossible, and not just for graduates and experienced engineers but even at apprentice level. This skills gap means a growth gap for the sector – and it will get worse the longer we fail to address the obvious.”
Assessing the effect of the skills gap on growth across the regions of the UK is one of the primary aims of the 2015 MHA Survey. The survey report, available in late September, will include analysis by the prestigious WMG – the Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick – and from Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport and Manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The report will be used to encourage government and other public and private bodies to develop policies that meet the needs of industry.
“The rewards for encouraging many more secondary school students towards a career in engineering and manufacturing are potentially huge for the UK economy,” says Chris Coopey. “If we get the balance right and find an answer to the skills gap, we could potentially add around £27 billion a year to the UK economy from 2022 onwards.”
David Atkinson, Head of SME Manufacturing at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, added: “The skills gap poses a major challenge for the UK’s manufacturing and engineering sector and the issue needs to be addressed in order for manufacturers to remain competitive and at the cutting edge of the global market. There’s a clear demand for talent at all levels and if tackled successfully, resolving the skills shortage will support the sustainable growth of the industry and ensure the sector continues to play a fundamental role in rebalancing the UK economy.”
The survey closes on 31 July. Manufacturers can contribute to the survey by clicking here