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Government Promise Additional £4.5 million to Fund Training in the Engineering Construction Sector
The government have announced that 4.5 million pounds will be added to the budget to fund apprenticeships and trainees in the engineering construction sector. It is a move designed to encourage continual development in what is undeniably an important area of commerce and technology. The £4.5 million offered by the government will be matched, in part, by the industry.
The increase came about as a result of the Gibson Review of Engineering Construction, a study of effectiveness and skill levels in the industry, commissioned in February 2009 by the Secretary of State for Business, Lord Mandelson.
One of the biggest problems in the industry is thought to be a lack of engineers to do all of the necessary work in the future. The money is to be used to enable employers to take on more apprentices and trainees. The aim is to double the number of apprenticeships available to reach a level of 1100 by 2011. There will also be a focus on getting more graduates into the sector.
The Gibson report suggests that the U.K. must increase the number of individuals with expertise in engineering construction in order to meet the challenges of the coming years. Those challenges include the repair, maintenance and upgrading of oil, gas and chemical facilities; and satisfing the anticipated increase in investment in nuclear and other forms of power, carbon capture and storage, biofuels and all of the low carbon technologies; and to counteract rising carbon levels whilst increasing productivity. The engineering construction industry is poised at the front line of technology. Any improvements will have a direct impact on all areas of life including environmental protection, energy provision, automotive and aerospace development. In order to rise to the challenge, plenty of talented candidates must be able to find suitable training.
A new cross-industry body is also being set up. It will take the form of a forum designed to encourage the sharing of information and technologies between the different sectors. The forum is going to set out a plausible and comprehensive plan to negate the risk posed by a lack of workers and to encourage the success and increase the productivity of engineering construction companies and skilled individuals.
Another area that was found to be inefficient in the Gibson Report was project management. Managers in the engineering construction industry were found to have a high awareness of good practice but were reticent to implement it. This is seen to be a key area for improvement part of which will necessitate an increase in communication between employers and employees.
The pooling of information through the forum, combined with a higher number of skilled individuals alongside directives to encourage excellent project management and to open employer, employee communication, is hoped to be able to invigorate the engineering construction sector in the U.K.