An action plan aimed at helping Scotland’s engineering and advanced manufacturing sector attract the new entrants it needs has been launched. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) joined key industry figures, stakeholders and employers to launch the Skills Investment Plan for the sector at the Glasgow Science Centre.
The plan sets out ways in which the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector can tackle some of the potential skills challenges it faces, with replacement demand expected to create job opportunities for 2500 people each year.
Among the priorities, the industry will address improving awareness of engineering careers among young people, and deal with the gender imbalance by encouraging more women to enter the sector. The sector is worth £9billion a year to the Scottish economy and employs more than 126,000 people, with Scotland being home to more than 13,000 engineering-related enterprises.
John McClelland CBE, Chair of SDS, said:
“This action plan is more than just an aspiration, it’s a necessity given the fundamental importance of engineering as a key driver of the nation’s economy.
“We have worked in partnership with key skills groups, industry stakeholders and employers to develop an action plan which has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that Scotland’s engineering and manufacturing business base is promoted and nurtured.
“Only if we do this can we inspire this generation and future generations of young people to pursue a career in engineering and advanced manufacturing, cementing Scotland’s place at the forefront of the industry.”
Key themes of the action plan include:
- Developing routes into the industry by improving awareness of engineering careers among young people and encouraging more women and engineering graduates to pursue a career in the sector.
- Helping to meet the demands of employers by improving the work readiness of market entrants, developing the capacity of SMEs and by promoting Modern Apprenticeships in Engineering.
- Improving skills infrastructure and coordination by enhancing links between education and industry and co-ordinating school activities.
Selma Hunter, Chair of the Engineering Skills Leadership Group and Director of engineering firm Doosan Babcock which has thermal, nuclear, oil and gas operations, said:
“The sector in Scotland is emerging from the recent global downturn and is now showing positive signs of recovery and making solid progress, with businesses at the cutting edge of productivity enhancement and effective skills development.
“This document sets out the strategy of sector engagement and how we plan to address some of the potential skills challenges the sector faces.
“In addition, we must continue to encourage increased uptake in the Modern Apprenticeship programme in order to meet future skills needs.”
“For a number of years we have been focusing on potential engineers from all levels of education including primary, secondary, graduate and modern apprenticeships. Each of these areas is essential in promoting one of Scotland’s key industry sectors.
“This action plan is key to our recruitment processes, showing just how important our industry is and how its continuing success adds to the economic wellbeing of the country.”
Pictured is Bryan Buchan, Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering