An inquiry on engineering skills is to be conducted by the UK Government’s Science and Technology Committee.
The announcement of the inquiry comes after the committee published a report today called Engineering in Government. According to the report, the civil service has made progress in recognising the importance of engineering, but MPs remain concerned that few examples of good practice were highlighted across Government departments.
“If the Government is serious about rebalancing the economy it must give more of a priority to engineering advice,” Andrew Miller, chair of the committee said.
The committee commended the work of the professional engineering community and of the current Government Chief Scientific Adviser in raising the profile of engineering advice. However, the report reiterated previous recommendations that there should be a Government Chief Scientific and Engineering Adviser overseeing a Government Chief Scientist, Government Chief Engineer and a Government Chief Social Scientist.
Although the Government has formed the Government Science and Engineering (GSE) community, it is still unclear how many engineers are employed in the civil service, and whether enough engineers are engaged in policy development.
“Engineering is vitally important to society and although the Government has raised the profile of engineering over the past few years, it cannot become complacent.
“This report is a continuation of the Committee’s scrutiny of engineering and as such, we are excited to begin a new inquiry looking at engineering skills,” Miller said.
The committee is seeking written submissions on whether the current engineering skills base is meeting the needs of employers, and whether employers prefer an academic or vocational profile. The impact of recent changes relating to engineering qualifications in England on the uptake of technical subjects and the skills base needed by the engineering sector will also be looked at in the inquiry.
Other matters the committee would like submissions on include, whether the Government and others could do more to raise the status of technical subjects, and what more should be done to attract and retain a more diverse technically skilled workforce.
The Science and Technology Committee’s report is a follow-up to a 2009 report, Engineering: Turning ideas into reality.
Find out more information on the inquiry and how to make a submission.