Manufactures organisation EEF has called for three-quarters of jobs in the sector to be highly-skilled by 2020 to meet the increasing shortage of skills.
The group’s skill manifesto urges the government to work with manufacturers to set the target to ensure the sector “is not left out in the cold” and provide higher standards of living for workers.
“This is a blueprint for the future of manufacturing and for policies that will support the demand not just for more skilled workers, but for more workers with higher-level skills,” Terry Scuoler, EEF’s chief executive, said in a statement.
In the next five years, EEF also wants 90 per cent of state secondary school maths, physics, chemistry and biology teachers to have at least a post A-level qualification in the subject they teach, as well as a 25 per cent increase in people completing engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships.
Scouler said the government needs to step up to the challenge as the face of manufacturing is changing due to rapid advances in technology. “UK manufacturing’s message to the next government is clear; we are key to delivering and underpinning a balanced, stable and vibrant economy, but we cannot do it on our own.”
Following EEF’s interactive polling conducted last week at the National Manufacturing Conference, 63 per cent predicted increased demand for highly skilled workers.
“This change is global and will see us face fiercer competition from other manufacturing and trading nations. In turn, it will place immense pressure on both the talent pipeline and the existing skills pool.”
Other measures include increasing the number of UK engineering graduates by 25 per cent and cut hard-to-fill manufacturing vacancies to a quarter.