Matt Rodda Member of Parliament for Reading East
Innovative ways of introducing schoolchildren into the world of technology and engineering from a young age were amongst the topics recently discussed at an educational seminar held at UTC Reading.
The event, which was attended by a variety of industry experts, ambassadors and educators sought the input from members of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the British Computer Society, Hackspace amongst others, in addition to teaching staff from Schools across the Reading area.
Reports claim that 75% of the UK’s engineering employers agree tackling the skills problem is fundamental to making the Government’s strategy viable. 61% of Engineering and Technical companies see recruiting staff with the right skills as a barrier to achieving their business objectives over the next 3 years, and there is a shortage of skills across all sectors of Engineering and Technology and at all levels.
Of particular concern were the reported figures of only 11% of the UK’s engineering and technical workforce being female, and only 15% of the country’s engineering employers making any efforts to attract and retain women. Black, ethnic minorities and the LGBT+ community fare worse still, with 87% of engineering employers having no specific BAME or LGBT+ initiatives in place to aid the recruitment or retention of talent.
UTC Reading is a rapidly-growing University Technical College, with rising numbers year-on-year. Their number on roll figures are 450 for 2018, rising to 500 in 2019, and they expect to hit their maximum capacity of 550 students by 2020. UTC Reading has 20 committed employer partners and provides a comprehensive blend of both broad and specialist academic and technology based courses. The specialist courses delivered at UTC Reading equips students for University study, an Apprenticeship or Degree Apprenticeship, as well as enabling them to be industry-ready for the workplace.
“It was good to meet staff from the UTC and other teachers, together with industry experts at the seminar. UTC Reading is doing an outstanding job of offering opportunities to young people so that they can get good jobs in the engineering and technology sector, and it is helping local employers by encouraging more young people to join the industry.”