SHORTAGE OCCUPATION LIST The Migration Advisory Committee recently recommended adding mechanical engineering to the Shortage Occupation List since, despite contributing £1.23 trillion to the UK’s total turnover, the engineering industry retains a persistent skills shortage. The report highlights how every

£1 generated by the engineering sector yields a further £1.45 GVA (gross value added) and that for every person employed by the engineering sector, another 1.7 jobs are created further down the supply chain. According to Peter Finegold, head of

education and skills at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, there is an undoubted mismatch between the value and opportunities in engineering, and recruitment and retention. Not only is the sector

disproportionately male and not ethnically diverse, it is also ageing with the bulk of the baby boomer engineering population reaching retirement at the same time as an expansion in engineering and other related technologies. “There is a widely acknowledged challenge in promoting and recruiting



young people to consider engineering. The causes include the fact that since most engineering is business-to- business, unless a young person has close relatives in the sector or lives in an area with an engineering heritage, they are unlikely to know what it is and the opportunities it presents,” said Finegold. The Institution of Mechanical

Engineers has been active in exploring ways in which the profile of engineering should be raised in mainstream education, including advocating a strong, properly funded careers programme in schools and greater focus on developing the generic skills employed by engineering through authentic learning experiences. “Given that 90 per cent of UK

engineers are male, and tend to come from a relatively narrow social background the sector must do more to challenge and change the culture, retain the relatively high number of women engineers who leave the profession in early career and encourage more people who do not fit the engineering archetype to join and then remain in the profession,” said Finegold.


Dr Shabana Haque OBE, has been taken on in the role of head of engineering policy at the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAE) to help enhance the government’s access to expert engineering policy advice. Dr Haque will be

programme for the Government Science and Engineering Profession. In 2018, she received an OBE for her strategic leadership and services to civil service science and engineering. Commenting on her

collaborating closely with the Academy’s Fellows and the wider engineering profession through the newly established National Engineering Policy Centre, an ambitious partnership of the 38 professional engineering organisations in the UK, to raise the visibility and impact of engineering on public policy. Dr Haque joins the Academy from the

Government Office for Science, where she has been working with the government chief scientific adviser and departments across the public sector to establish, drive and deliver an ambitious transformation

❱❱ Dr Haque will help coordinate the voice of the engineering profession in public policy making

appointment, Dr Haque said: “I am excited to join the Academy at a time of ambitious change in its public policy work. I am looking forward to working with

Fellows of the Academy and experts across the National Engineering Policy Centre to embrace this change. Through closer collaboration between the engineering community and with policy makers, we can help to ensure that the best independent engineering advice and expertise is available to support decision making, resulting in a deep and sustained engineering policy impact.”

June 2019 /// Testing & Test Houses /// 39

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