Fit for the future: Growing and sustaining engineering and technology apprenticeships for young people

Inquiry led by Lord Knight and Lord Willetts

Call for evidence

As the engineering and technology sector battles with acute skills shortage, a new inquiry seeks to explore concerning decline in apprenticeships uptake and find solutions to help with growing UK workforce. 

Led by former Labour and Conservative ministers Lord Knight and Lord Willetts, in partnership with EngineeringUK, the inquiry seeks to uncover the reasons behind the worrying decline in engineering, manufacturing and technology apprenticeships starts seen over recent years in the UK. 

Despite a modest uptick in numbers last year, engineering-related apprenticeship starts in England are still 9% lower than in 2014/15. What’s more, the uptake varies by subject with a worrying 34% decline for engineering and manufacturing technologies. 

Given the skills shortage and a growing demand for engineers and technicians, the inquiry will look to identify vital solutions which could help to increase the number and diversity of young people taking up apprenticeships in the sector. 

We invite employers, training providers, young people and those who work with them, to get involved in the ‘call for evidence’ and share their views, evidence or ideas to improve this much-needed career pathway into the sector.  In particular, we welcome the inclusion of links to further reports, data and case studies in responses.   

The call for evidence is now closed. The call asked for views, evidence and ideas on 4 key areas: 


  1. What part do apprenticeships play in helping to meet the UK’s skills needs in engineering and technology? 

State of play 

  1. What are the reasons behind the overall decline in engineering apprenticeship starts in recent years? We are particularly interested in understanding more about supply and demand. 


  1. What are the barriers for businesses taking on young people as apprentices and what are the barriers for young people in accessing them? 


  1. What do you think needs to change to help increase the number and diversity of young people taking up and completing engineering and technology apprenticeships?