Jun 22, 2018
EngineeringUK bought together colleagues from industry with policymakers on 7 June to discuss social mobility and the engineering skills pipeline. The discussion, which was hosted by Meg Hillier MP, focused on the opportunities and risks presented by the increased role government is giving employers to deliver the skills their businesses need. For example, concerns were voiced about the practicalities of hosting 45-day T Level industry placements and ensuring that young people have access to high quality experiences.
As Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Meg has recently chaired inquiries into apprenticeships, the STEM skills pipeline, and the higher education market. This helped set the scene for a high quality discussion, which was attended by Conservative MP and Year of Engineering envoy, Stephen Metcalfe MP and Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Chi Onwurah MP and a senior representative from the Department for Education.
Attendees had a number of examples of how their work, including their STEM outreach activities, is targeting young people from harder to reach schools, providing role models to encourage young people to consider engineering careers which they may otherwise have felt were inaccessible.
There was a robust conversation about the need for businesses to prioritise between hosting apprentices, T Level placements and other types of employer encounters they currently offer. There were different suggestions around the table for how the Apprenticeships Levy, which is paid by businesses with a wage bill of more than £3 million, could be spent more flexibly to ensure that the outreach and investment in the STEM skills pipeline is able to continue and to deliver a more diverse engineering profession.
A note of the meeting will be available shortly and participant feedback will be used to inform a research briefing that EngineeringUK will publish in the autumn.
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