Today's Guest Blog is from Matt Hancock MP, Minister for Skills and Enterprise
Engineering is important to our growing economy and essential if we want to stay ahead in the global race. The sector's turnover is over a trillion a year, three times the size of retail. Engineering employs 5.4 million people across over half a million enterprises.
There is a growing demand for engineers in the UK. The Perkin Review of Engineering Skills illustrated what we needed to do to inspire more young people into considering a career in engineering. Tomorrow's Engineers Week is an opportunity to show young people the sheer variety of what is on offer.
It is essential that young people know about the fantastic careers available to them as an engineer. Engineering graduates have above average starting salaries at 26k and engineering technicians, with an average salary of 34,018, top the list of technician salaries.
Polling showed that three quarters of young people love using the latest technology and over 50% enjoy science, like designing and creating things, or learning how things work. We have to excite the next generation of engineers and apprentices by showing how engineering is relevant to their daily lives and the things they enjoy, and demonstrate how engineers shape the world around them. Engineering is about problem solving; a creative industry.
Tomorrow's Engineers Week is a chance to show the link between the importance of engineering and the gadgets people use, the clothes they wear and the sports they play. That's why industry and Government have joined forces to challenge perceptions and promote engineering careers. As many as 8,327 more people applied to study engineering at university in 2013 than in the year before, which is a 6.1 percent increase while we have seen a growth of 64 percent in the number of engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships since 2010. These increases are welcome and I am keen to build on this success.
With the support of the engineering bodies, employers and the entire engineering sector this is not an insurmountable problem. If we all work together to make sure we have the highly qualified, highly skilled and talented young people ready to fill the engineering jobs of the future, then we will be in great shape to secure economic growth and lead the world in engineering expertise.