The education system is at risk of stifling economic growth if there isn’t a greater focus on skills based learning, such as work experience, says the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), as GCSE results are revealed across the UK.

The IET calls today for more practical learning and development options to be built into the curriculum, but stresses it’s not just the responsibility of schools; employers have a duty to provide work experience for those in education or training to improve the supply of engineers and technicians coming into the industry. 

Addressing these growing concerns, the latest Skills and Demand in Industry report*, published by the IET, confirms that 68% of employers are worried that the education system will struggle to keep up with the skills required for technological change with 62% agreeing that young people entering today’s workplace do not have the right skills. 91% of companies surveyed went on to agree that more work experience needs to be offered to reduce the growing skills gap.

Alison Carr, IET Director of Policy, said: “There is deep concern that access to our next generation of work-ready engineers and technicians is being stifled by a lack of work experience options available to young people as part of their studies.

“As we are facing an engineering shortfall in the next decade, compounded by uncertainty around skills following Brexit, it is never too early to start developing the next generation of ‘home grown’ engineering and technology talent that have the right practical skills.

“Work experience is part of the solution and we are now calling on employers and educators to continue to strengthen their working relationships to ensure that the work experience they offer is designed with the skills gap in mind.”

The IET champions the need for employers and the education sector to collaborate to offer a diverse range of quality work experience to engineering students. For more information about the range of support and options available to students through the IET, visit the Students section of the IET website.