Engineering profession sets out 6 clear areas for investment ahead of the government’s spending review

Sep 27, 2021

Securing the future, published in June 2021, called on government to invest £40 million in improving access to careers provision for students in schools and colleges in England to enable more young people to understand the opportunities available in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers.

The NEPC’s submission includes a key recommendation from ‘Securing the future’ and collates input from 42 engineering organisations representing 450,000 UK engineers. It outlines 6 urgent actions vital to ensuring we have the right skills and investments in place to both grow and decarbonise the economy and has been submitted to government exactly one month before the government is due to deliver the Budget, including its spending review for the next 3 years.

The 6 recommended areas for investment include:

1. Follow through on the commitment to invest £22 billion in R&D by 2024/25. This increase needs to start ramping up now to ensure it delivers the best returns for the economy and society.

2. Accelerate decision-making and investment in low-regrets actions that are needed now for decarbonisation, including low-carbon retrofit and refurbishment of existing building stock, prioritising low-carbon heat, and scaling up the electric vehicle charging network.

3. Establish a net zero delivery body to drive and coordinate progress across government and industry, provide systems-level analysis, share learnings about what works, and build a clear, evidence-based vision for a net zero UK.

4. Urgently invest in an ambitious net zero skills plan that will enable rapid and affordable re-skilling and up-skilling opportunities for the existing workforce to meet the short-term skills needs for transition to net zero, as well as longer term skills needs.

5. Invest in a long-term STEM education strategy, including boosting funding for careers activities and teacher recruitment and accelerating the expansion of inclusive and high-quality technical education and engineering apprenticeships. This is based on EngineeringUK’s co-authored report, Securing the future.

6. Embed long-term demand drivers into decision making on infrastructure investment to build back better with low carbon, resource efficient and resilient infrastructure.

“A small investment that can make a world of difference.”

Beatrice Barleon, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at EngineeringUK, said:

“Ensuring that we have tomorrow’s engineers requires further investment in education and skills and demands government to develop a clear STEM education strategy.

‘Securing the future’ highlighted that careers provision is still underfunded, limiting what schools can offer to young people.

“We want to see the government use the 2021 Comprehensive Spending Review to plug that gap and invest an additional £40 million annually on supporting schools in England to deliver careers provision. This small investment in the context of the wider schools’ budget, will ensure that schools have the capacity to fulfil their statutory duties in relation to careers provision in a meaningful way and help inspire the next generation of engineers. This is not only vital for the future of young people of this country and for levelling up, but also for the economic success of this country.”


Find out more about engineering ambitions for the UK Spending Review

Explore Securing the future further

Read the latest blog about investing in STEM careers education

Read EngineeringUK's contribution to the UK Spending Review


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