Word from Wayne: What Should We Be Asking of the Next Government?

With elections fast approaching, I’ve been reading Make UK’s ‘Makers Manifesto’ and EngineeringUK’s ‘Key Asks’, both of which outline the immediate needs of manufacturers for the incoming government, whomever that might be? This has led me to consider ‘what should we be asking of the next government?’.

We all understand that engineering faces its own challenges, and these reports strive to address issues such as a lack of industrial strategy, access to net zero opportunities, skills training, digital skills and infrastructure improvements.

Perhaps we will only achieve the government focus needed to tackle these issues if the call for a manufacturing champion, or Minister for Manufacturing, were to be addressed? It is also good to read that the Make UK’s Makers Manifesto and other trade and advisory bodies are united in their message to the next government – and it is also good to read that they, and so many figures within our community, are championing for an Industrial Strategy.

Within the Make UK’s ‘Makers Manifesto’ one point stood out to me – and likely resonates with everyone in this sector – the 61,000 unfilled vacancies in manufacturing right now! UK manufacturers are losing approximately £6.5 billion in potential output annually due to this shortage. But does the recommendation to upskill the current workforce go far enough when we know there are recruitment issues across the nation in engineering?

Engineering is a highly skilled, respected, and well-paid profession, so why is there such a significant skills shortage?

Whilst there has been a drive to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering & maths) in education, I wonder if a grassroots approach to sector recruitment is required? A philosophy which fully involves those ‘on the front lines’, aligns with the sector’s needs, and provides engineering trainees with a real vocational and immersive, hands-on experience?

At AKP Precision Engineering, we take a proactive approach to training engineers. Our recruitment philosophy focuses on finding the right individual, rather than seeking certain certification alone. We are happy to train the right people and often gain the best results with this approach. Our engineers may not always get everything right first try, but they strive to, and we support them. This combination makes a significant difference. We take pride in the quality of our products, achieved through determination and a focus on personal development and quality assurance.

Perhaps we should ask the next government for a high-profile recruitment drive? We should be asking for continued support and investment in the UK’s manufacturing and engineering community – and to attract those who don’t yet know they have a part to play within it! We want to attract individuals with the right mindset and determination so that companies like AKP can train and develop them, with the support of training schemes.

At AKP, it’s fair to say, we engineer engineers!