The UK government launches its See Inside Manufacturing initiative this week to help recruit the next generation of engineers.
Business Minister Mark Prisk said some people had quite an outdated perception about what the motor industry did. “We are inviting people to see what we make and what we do. We have to make sure we recruit the next generation of the brightest and the best into manufacturing.”
The See Inside Manufacturing initiative would involve teachers, students and career advisers being invited to visit UK car plants, Prisk said.
Young people must rid themselves of images of “1970s’ smoke-stacked, northern factories” and get involved in manufacturing. There was a marked shortage of people going into engineering jobs, he said before an international automotive summit in London today.
Also speaking before the summit, Ford of Europe chairman and chief executive Stephen Odell said: “As the motor industry starts to recover after the recession, we are looking for more engineers. I fear that in the UK we may not have enough engineers. We may have to go back to the roots and start looking at apprenticeships.”
Odell said he was worried about plans emanating from Brussels which propose the eventual banning - in years to come - of all but electric vehicles on EU roads. He said such a scheme should be opposed as it “potentially disemploys 13 million people”.
Asked about this, Prisk said the motor industry was already taking steps to tackle the problem of CO2 emissions. He added that an all-electric-car EU was “a lovely idea but I can’t imagine it would work”.
Paul Everett, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which is organising the summit, said: “This is an exciting time for our industry as the recognition of manufacturing’s contribution to driving economic recovery accelerates it up the political and social agenda.”