Seen as exciting fast-growth industries, the space, robotics, 3D printing, new energy networks, food manufacturing and cyber security sectors could significantly boost the UK economy.
But according to the IET, action is needed now to ensure that skills shortages and lack of investment do not hamper their potential. And, unfortunately, most of these industries will be looking for the same kind of talent.
There are a number of engineering skills common across all of the industry areas, which means these industries will effectively be competing with each other for the best people. This comes at a time when competition for the same skills from other areas of the economy is growing both within the UK and globally.
However, talent doesn’t always come easy.
Nigel Fine, IET chief executive, said: “These promising and exciting industry areas offer the UK tremendous opportunity for growth and global leadership. But we also hear straight from the horse’s mouth that the biggest barrier to that growth is meeting the need for high numbers of engineers and technicians with an increasingly transformational skillset – especially as these industries grow and new jobs are created.”
Indeed, although the six industries are already approaching maturity, all need urgent and sustained further investment to make them truly fit for the future. And engineers and technicians will need to train, transform and acquire new skills to grow with these fast-developing industries.
Furthermore, to remain competitive in the future it is clear all organisations must tap into a more diverse talent pool. That means more women, who are largely absent in each of the industries, and people from a wider range of backgrounds. Diversity is vital to serving global markets, driving innovation and attracting new talent.
“We need to act now,” Fine exclaimed. “The last thing we want to happen is that these innovative new industries fail to achieve their potential because they don’t have the skills, talent, technology and investment they need to grow.”
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