Opinion Former Article

IET: Oliver Letwin MP and John Hayes MP endorse new scheme to tackle UK technical skills shortage

Today, two Government Ministers pledged their support for a renewed commitment to technicians in the UK.

The enhanced deal for professional technicians highlights their rapidly growing importance to the UK economy. UK plc will need almost a 50% increase in the number of professional technicians over the next 8 years.

There are more than 1 million skilled people currently working as technicians across all sectors. 450,000 new professional technicians are needed by the year 2020. It is therefore clear that there is a significant demand for suitably skilled, professional technicians in the UK and that this nation-wide push is needed to attract, train and recruit a growing workforce.

The new initiative offers technicians enhanced public profile, professional recognition and development, plus a new national brand and website. This is all aimed at helping employers and individuals to deal with the shortage of technical skills within the UK.

Nigel Fine, Chief Executive of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, who sits on the Government’s Technician Council said, “We have launched this scheme in order to show that professional technicians are essential to delivering growth in the 21st Century and that they are highly skilled individuals. Responsible employers can now demonstrate their commitment by developing professional technicians to nationally recognised levels. The IET warmly welcomes this new initiative and we will do all we can to support it.”

To help develop so many new professional technicians, the public and private sectors are being urged to have existing technicians register with a professional body, like the Institution of Engineering and Technology. The plan is that enhanced recognition, rewards and life-long learning opportunities will bring more young people into the professional technician career path.

In the field of engineering, technicians are often the experts and specialists who develop and run complex systems and equipment within an organisation.

The launch event, at the London headquarters of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, is the culmination of research and recommendations that have been planned by the Government appointed Technician Council.

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Notes to Editors

The Institution of Engineering and Technology is Europe’s largest engineering society and a source of essential engineering intelligence. For more information about the IET go to: www.theiet.org

A new website for professional technicians has been launched at www.professional-techncian.org.uk

The eight recommendations from the Technician Council review are to:

R1. Endorse and promote professional technicians across every sector of employment, within professional bodies or education and training
R2. Support the registration and professional development of technicians
R3. R3. Offer active support for professional technicians and promote their skills and contributions within the sector
R4. Improve communications on career choices and include the different training and skills pathways, sector skills transferability, development programmes, gateways to higher levels
R5. Raise the profile of the professional technician in Government communications to the young
R6. Use the professional technician brand as widely as possible
R7. Promote greater diversity within the technician workforce ensuring the future professional technician population is more representative of society
R8. Sustain the work of the Technician Council to promote and increase the numbers of professional technicians over the next three years, ensuring a sustainable platform for the future

For information about the Technician Council go to: www.techniciancouncil.org.uk

Data sources are ‘SET Based Technicians, Lessons from the UK and European Labour Force Surveys’ Jagger, Sigala, Sumption, 2010, published by the IES; and the Technicians Council.

The UK currently has approximately 1.1 million technicians at Level 3 and 4.

Examples of professional technicians include: Aircraft maintenance technician, Broadcasting technician, Chemical technician; Computer repair technician; Lighting technician; Architectural technician; Laboratory technician; Motor vehicle technician
Sound technician; Studio technician.

Media Enquiries to:

Dr Belinda Webb
Communications Officer
T: 01438 765608
E:bwebb@theiet.org
M:07775 851 853

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