Government starts process of building skills for industrial IoT

At last the government is starting to recognise that it has to do more to foster the engineering workforce at all levels.

But the skills crisis in engineering is such that still this may not be enough.

In his Budget statement a couple of weeks ago the Chancellor unveiled a new technical qualification, called the T-level, and he ear-marked a further £500m to make it happen.

The fear is this is merely plastering over a much more deep-rooted problem.

While it welcomes the introduction of new ‘T-levels’,  the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) believes this will not by itself fix the skills crisis.

When they are introduced in two years time, the T-levels will certainly focus on hugely needed technical skills and provide valuable work experience for students.

But this will do nothing to address the need to retrain and up-skill the current workforce.

Some would argue this is the most pressing need as the technology sector attempts to take advantage of the commercial opportunities offered by IoT, robotics and yes, autonomous vehicles.

Is the government, which has still not forgotten the need for “austerity”, putting new money into T-levels or simply redirecting money previously ear-marked for schemes to up-skill the current workforce?

What about today’s A-level and university students? They need work experience and internship opportunities to help them develop the right skills for the modern engineering workplace.

An IET skills survey found that 62% of employers feel that school leavers and graduates don’t currently have these skills.

As the rest of Europe launches into what it calls Industrie 4.0 (or the 4th industrial revolution) the UK has its work cut-out to ensure that the workforce has the skills to prepare them for the changes to come.


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