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Hiring apprentices is 'not straightforward', say engineering firms

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Less than half of employers in the engineering sector believe the process of taking on an apprentice is straightforward, according to a new report.

Research by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) shows that although half of organisations expect to take on more technical apprentices over the next five years, only 58 per cent of those organisations are aware of the government’s apprenticeship policy. And, of those, just over two-thirds say they believe apprenticeships to be an affordable method of obtaining staff with the required skills.

Just 47 per cent of the employers surveyed believe the process for recruiting apprentices is straightforward.

According to the report, 14 per cent of new recruits over the next 12 months are expected to be school leavers or apprentices, with graduates making up 20 per cent. Overall, 53 per cent of employers say they are struggling to recruit staff with the appropriate skills, while two-thirds are concerned that the education system will struggle to keep up with the skills required for technological change.

Nigel Fine, chief executive of the IET, said that although demand for engineers in the UK remained high, supply was “unable to keep pace”.

“Stronger and deeper collaboration between employers and academic institutions is needed to agree practical steps to ensure that young people are suitably prepared both academically and practically before they start work,” he added.

“Supporting and encouraging teachers and academics to spend time in industry – and employers to visit schools, colleges and universities – would also be hugely beneficial.”

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